Crossover Talents: When Did Politicians Become Actors?


You needn’t be a media pundit to see that the increasingly vapid world of entertainment will try anything for ratings and ticket sales… but using politicians – really? Are you aware that Sara Palin’s new reality show which premiered last Sunday set TLC ratings history drawing nearly five million viewers? Wow! There’s a figure you can’t ‘refudiate’! (Thank you to Oxford dictionary for glorifying Palin’s verbal ignorance by making this malapropism the 2010 Word of the Year. Still waiting for their take on W’s ‘misunderestimate’.)

Here’s a legitimate inquiry for you: When did politicians become entertaining? I can’t recall one time in history C-SPAN aired so much as a smile. What ever happened to actors being actors while politicians remain in office inspiring them to act? I wouldn’t hesitate to go so far as to say that singers that spend a few hours in a recording studio hollering into a computer synthesizer necessarily qualifies them to land high paying acting rolls.. But then again, I’m one of those fools hung up on the theory that the number one vehicle a celebrity should possess as they drive upwards and onwards to fame and fortune is: TALENT! P.S. Looking straight into the eyes of the American people and lying is impressive, but doesn’t count.

It’s been a fad for generations for popular actors who decide they will “make the difference” to enter the cutthroat world of politics, leaving one to ponder if there’s an underlying massive ego associated with running. Ronald Regan prepared for his two-term California Governorship and Presidential role as a contract player for Warner Brothers who enjoyed acting with monkeys. The Gold Rush State certainly has been a popular choice for actors for obvious reasons. Sonny Bono took Palm Spring’s Mayoral chair in 1988 and we certainly can’t forget current exiting Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger – who terminated 100 other candidates. This country even had wrestler, Jesse (The Body) Ventura, shake up the Minnesota gubernatorial. I’m not even going to attempt to get in to what in the hell Steven Segal was thinking becoming a real cop.

As you can see, most often, it’s actor-turns-political. Not politician-turns-actor. But like anything in life, there’s been some exceptions. Take Jerry Springer for instance. Now here’s a guy that went from the Mayor of Cincinnati to hosting arguably one of the most popular white trash daytime talk shows that single-handedly redefined how low-lifes fight. You could still see the poignant politician in him at the end of each show during “Jerry’s Final Thought” segment. (This by no means is an admittance of viewership.)

Most recently, it’s been reported that former President Bill Clinton has a cameo appearance in the upcoming comedy movie “Hangover 2.” Of course it was noted that the former supreme commander has no formal acting under his belt which can easily be rebutted with, “Bulls**t… He’s been with Hillary since 1975.”

You can all save your letters telling me how great Cher was in “Moonstruck”. I’m the first to admit this was written knowing farewell that there are exceptions to the rule when it comes to crossovers. Heavyweight boxer, Mike Tyson, is not one of them. Just promise me casting directors, you never put Christine O’Donnell in a movie. Well, maybe a remake of “Little Witches”. That said, I encourage you to comment as to where you stand on politicians crossing over into entertainment. At the very least, I’ll get to see the way you ‘act’ when you ‘vote’.

{image from PR Watch}

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