Bernie Sanders Was In A Movie As A Rambling Rabbi & He Totally Crushed It — VIDEO
If there's one persistent attack leveled at Vermont senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, it's that he doesn't quite have that zip or zest. You know, that invigorating, soaring rhetoric paired with a wry sense of humor and timing ― the kind of charismatic package that helped Barack Obama defeat Hillary Clinton back in 2008. But if you've bought into this, you're so, so wrong. Bernie Sanders once played a rabbi in a romantic comedy, and it's actually pretty hilarious.
If you've watched and enjoyed Curb Your Enthusiasm star Larry David's imitation of Sanders on SNL, this video might induce a big, exaggerated double take. As it turns out, Sanders came damn close to doing a Larry David impression in his own right back when he was a little younger and a lot more anonymous.
The scene in question, which was freshly highlighted by BuzzFeed's Andrew Kaczynski and Megan Apper last year, is from 1999's My X-Girlfriend's Wedding Reception, a low-budget comedy that could someday be remembered for having the weirdest cameo by a future president ever. It's not terribly important to know the plot of the film, beyond the immediate context that Sanders is speaking at a Jewish-Italian wedding, and his character is something of a baseball fan. Just watch him work with this awkward, rambling brand of comedy ― his character is named Rabbi Manny Shevitz, naturally.
For those of you who can't watch the clip (or are peculiarly into reading transcribed comedic monologues rather than watching someone actually perform them), here's what Sanders says:
It's a particularly delicious twist that his character is a strident opponent of free agency in baseball. Sanders is one of the most pro-labor, pro-union politicians in America, and the right to sign a contract with any team was one of the hardest-fought battles between baseball ownership and the Major League Baseball Players Union (MLBPA).
For what it's worth, Sanders' character has a point when he complains that the Dodgers abandoned his home borough of Brooklyn. While the real man's exact affinity for baseball is unclear, he was indeed born and raised in Brooklyn, and was a teenager when the team bolted for Los Angeles in 1958.
But more to the point: He does a pretty good job, right? I for one would not have expected that Sanders had such wry, self-aware comedic chops. And even if you didn't find the cameo all that funny, you at least have to give him this much: He's still a better actor than Ronald Reagan was.
Images: My X-Girlfriend's Wedding Reception (1)