Clint Eastwood debates a Chair. A tie is declared.
by: Kate Messinger
August 31, 2012
Republicans and improv-comedy are two planes of this world that should never cross, especially during a national convention broadcasted to millions of judging people. However, Clint Eastwood, a man known for his mean cowboy stares, award winning directing, and passion for guns should never have been trusted to make jokes, let alone ad-lib a speech at the Republican National Convention. Bringing a veteran star like Eastwood into a political convention should have been an easy way for Republicans to showcase that a) not all people in Hollywood are Liberals and b) being a Republican is bad ass. The speech should have been short, supportive of the candidate, hit a few scripted low-blow jokes at the opponent and ended in a famous quote vaguely applying to the campaign (e.g. ” ’bout time this town had a new sheriff”). The speech should never have disintegrated into legendary bad ass Clint Eastwood mumbling jokes to an imaginary Obama in an empty chair.
Many pundits said the celebrity cameo took away from Romney’s “this is my story” speech earlier in the night, that people should be talking about Romney, not Eastwood’s delusional rambling. Though the whole speech lacked clarity, the worst part about watching Eastwood was his failure to commit to the joke that he had set up. As an actor, committing is the most important part of being believable and convincing. Let’s say Eastwood had acted like Obama actually was in that empty chair and directed a coherent argument at “him,” then, upon getting no response from “him” (because “he’s” an empty chair that can’t respond) had made a stab at Obama about doing nothing (because, again, “he” is an empty chair). That might have been a funny, or at least poignant, joke. But instead Eastwood did not really commit to the imaginary Obama and just ended up rambling to an empty chair and pretending that the chair was talking back to him, making him sound like a sad old man who had mistakenly wandered on the stage of the Republican National Convention. On top of it all, he didn’t even end with a good quote, only prompting the audience to call and response with the line from the 1983 film Sudden Impact, screaming: “OK, you wanna make my day? Alright. I’ll start it. You finish it. Go ahead, make my day.”
Sadly this made no one’s day, except maybe Obama, who later tweeted a picture of himself sitting in his presidential chair with the caption: “This seat’s taken.”