Consumer advocate and presidential election spoiler Ralph Nader showed up to tell jokes wearing a backward baseball cap. "I haven't said a thing and you're laughing," Nader told the crowd at Wednesday night's D.C.'s Funniest Celebrity Contest, where both punchlines and punches were thrown.
Nader had been asked to participate in the program by conservative anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist. (Yes, they're friends.) And his "joke" was that he was going to sell out and become a top dollar consultant. Nader would rid the fridge of his kale and seaweed and tofu. He'd stop recycling. And he'd learn how to laugh. "Because if you're going to be a corporate personality you gotta learn to laugh and hide the cruelty of it all," said Nader, being classic Nader.
"People think I don't laugh," he continued. "And one person said, 'I saw you on 'Saturday Night Live' five times and I didn't see you laugh. And that hurt me."
Now this is true. Nader hosted "Saturday Night Live" back in 1977 and basically played himself. During the show, he yelled at college students (including a very young Bill Murray) for asking him stupid questions and put on his seat belt before falling asleep in an office chair for a Jimmy Carter dream sequence.
Back at Wednesday night's show, Nader tried his hand at impressions. "So I've chosen three different laughs and I'm going to audition them and I hope by your reaction I'll pick one," he stated. "So, first, is a knock-off from Sen. Al Franken," Nader said, expelling an elongated "heh." He also impersonated the Rev. Desmond Tutu. "The third laugh is what I call the Wall Street authority laugh," Nader said, before making a sound that can only be described as a maniacal cackle.
And while Nader's act didn't come in first, that recognition went to Norquist, finding his laugh got him a third-place prize at the annual competition.