Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y. performs with actors Harry Hamlin and Hannah Yelland at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C.

An Indicted Michael Grimm Does Shakespeare

Many a political player got a roast at the annual Will on the Hill event, but only one was onstage.

Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y. performs with actors Harry Hamlin and Hannah Yelland at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C.

Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y., left, was the butt of a joke at a fundraiser Tuesday night.

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An indictment did not get in the way of Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y., putting on a blue robe and gold crown and reciting a little Shakespeare Tuesday night. Grimm was among the members of Congress who participated in this year’s Will on the Hill, an annual fundraiser for Washington’s Shakespeare Theatre Company.

The performance always pairs real actors with members of Congress and other Washingtonians. And the play is always a mix of political humor and Shakespearean lines. 

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The gist of the skit was that a documentary filmmaker, played by actress Hannah Yelland, was trying to score an interview with a mysterious political candidate (later revealed to be the Shakespeare Theater Company's artistic director, Michael Kahn.) Actor Harry Hamlin, known for his role on “Mad Men,” played the stodgy campaign manager who was standing in Yelland’s way.

Members of Congress – including Reps. Jared Polis, D-Colo., Jim Moran, D-Va., and Donna Edwards, D-Md., along with Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., and Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss. – held peripheral roles like super PAC founders, network anchors and National Security Agency workers, all trying to get access to the candidate. Because all the action took place during a town’s Shakespeare festival, everyone wore gowns, crowns and floppy hats and occasionally inserted some Shakespeare into their dialogue.

While many pols became punchlines, Grimm was the only one sitting onstage.  

Hamlin, at one point, dressed down his campaign assistant, played by actor Nicholas Bruder, calling him dumb. “Like buying-cocaine-in-Dupont-Circle dumb,” Hamlin said. (A nod to former Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla.) “Like kissing-your-scheduler-in-front-of-the-surveillance-camera dumb,” Hamlin continued. (That one's for you, Rep. Vance McAllister, R-La.) 

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“Like threatening-to-break-a-reporter-in-half-over-a-balcony dumb,” Yelland’s character added. (Clearly, an homage to Grimm.)  

Then it was Grimm’s turn to perform. He played a primary candidate trying to get in good with the mysterious candidate’s campaign so that he might become vice president. Upon discovering that Yelland was filming the exchange, he uttered the final line of his performance, which was fitting. 

“If you ever do that to me again, I’ll give you a quick swift kick in the pants,” Grimm said.