Most Read: Lifestyle

Live Online Discussions

There are no discussions scheduled today.

Wellness chat

Wellness chat

Healthful eating columnist Ellie Krieger answers your questions. Join us at 1 p.m. April 23.

Weekly schedule, past shows

Posted at 05:38 PM ET, 10/15/2012

Arlen Specter’s stand-up comedy: A few highlights (video)

Specter in 2009. (Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post)
Was Arlen Specter the funniest lawmaker in Washington? Before former comedy pro Al Franken got elected to the Senate (and promptly stopped cracking jokes), Specter was known for his sideline as an amateur stand-up comedian. The Pennsylvania moderate, who died Sunday at 82, made a comedy debut of sorts at media-political banquet in 2006 and performed at a charity fundraiser the following year — surprising audiences by going a little blue. (The one about how the paraplegic managed to ring the doorbell. Don’t ask.)

After losing his Senate seat in 2010, he got downright serious about his comedy, doing gigs in Philadelphia and NYC in the past year, and was scheduled to do another in Philly next month. His material, while not always the freshest, was boosted by his natural comic timing — and his willingness to plug VIP names into jokes. A few highlights from his recent sets:

• “I’ve been in comedy now for 30 years. [Long pause to let audience laugh when they realize he’s talking about the Senate.] The only difference is, it’s not stand-up: We all have comfortable chairs. It costs about 27 million dollars to win a seat — so when you win one, you like to sit down.”

• “Bill Clinton is a friend of mine, because I’m a friend of his: I voted not to impeach him. And that’s a hell of a thing to do considering the evidence.”

• “I called Clinton up on his 65th birthday, and I said, ‘Bill, congratulations. . . how do you feel?’ He said, ‘Arlen, I feel like a teenager. The problem is, I can’t find one!’”

“You may have heard that Ed Rendell is a man about town, escorting all of those beautiful women he can find . . . I saw him on the street and he said, ‘It’s great being a man about town. I have sex almost night. I almost have sex on Monday, I almost have sex on Tuesday, I almost have sex on Wednesday. . .” (In another setting, Specter told the same joke to CNN — but subbing in the name of the late Strom Thurmond.)

Related: Arlen Specter dies; he was Pennsylvania’s longest-serving senator

(Arlen Specter at Philadelphia open-mic)

(Arlen Specter at Caroline’s)

(Arlen Specter on CNN)

Also in The Reliable Source:

More on Neal Schon’s engagement to Michaele Salahi: On-stage proposal and 11 carat diamond

Love, etc.: Russell Crowe and wife separate

Update: Arlo Guthrie, absent from Woody centennial at Kennedy Center, announces wife Jackie’s death

Richard Belzer — not a detective but plays one on TV — talks conspiracies in Bethesda

Tony Mendez, the CIA agent behind the real ‘Argo’

By  |  05:38 PM ET, 10/15/2012

Read what others are saying

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company