America's Funniest Senators
March 17, 2004 6:32 AM   Subscribe

Ted L. Nancy (or is it really Jerry Seinfeld?) has a lock on the "send a seemingly serious letter to someone and see if they write back" genre, but this ploy to get unwitting United States Senators to send in their favorite jokes is amusing too. Even Santorum chimed in.
posted by emelenjr (24 comments total)
Skip right to the good stuff:
John Kerry.

*GASP* A religious joke! The heathen Democrat!
posted by brownpau at 6:47 AM on March 17, 2004

Excellent link. Thanks!
posted by internal at 6:51 AM on March 17, 2004

Ha, Kent Conrad (or his intern) just copied a joke off the internet verbatim. Imagine the good senator printing out the web page, and then painstakingly copying down the entire joke.

Yep, intern.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 6:55 AM on March 17, 2004

Plus, I thought Seinfeld stole this idea from Don Novello, aka Father Guido Sarducci.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 6:59 AM on March 17, 2004

stupidsexyFlanders stole my comment!

Long live Lazlo Toth, AMERICAN!
posted by dogwelder at 7:09 AM on March 17, 2004

Lazlo Toth is the best of the genre.
posted by BentPenguin at 7:11 AM on March 17, 2004

I tried the Don Novello book after an old coworker of mine recommended it (I had loaned him Letters from a Nut) but I just didn't find it as funny.
posted by emelenjr at 7:38 AM on March 17, 2004

EmelenJr, I guess there's no accounting for tastes.

To me, the early Lazlo Toth letters are much funnier than the funniest of the "Letters From A Nut".

Guess you had to be there (in the 70s and 80s, that is).

The Toth letters are sophisticated (starting with the pseudonym, which is the name of the crazed Australian geologist who assaulted Michelangelo's "Pieta" in the early 70s) and topical.

The Nancy letters are just silly fun.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:01 AM on March 17, 2004

Also, how can you "try" a book that's only about 150 pages long? Either you read the thing or you don't.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:02 AM on March 17, 2004

Maybe you had to be there. [on preview: Yeah, exactly, Sidhedevil.] When it came out, I remember Don Novello's collection being both funny and amazing in its audacity. He freakin' invented this genre. Nowadays, when anybody and everybody does it, when prank phone calls are put out on CD, when dimwitted practical jokes on celebs launch careers, it's not at all noteworthy, and I don't get much of a kick out of it.

< /curmudgeon >
posted by soyjoy at 8:05 AM on March 17, 2004

As much as I hate to self-link, I just wanted to point out that we did something similar in the 2000 election, though cereal-related. You can find the letters here: Bush, Clinton, Buchanan, Bauer, Keyes, Bradley and Gore. There's nothing my friend Martin treasures more than his personalized, signed photo of Pat Buchanan.
posted by emptybowl at 8:23 AM on March 17, 2004

You're right, it was a short read. To be more accurate, I guess I should have said that I did indeed look through the entire book before deciding that I liked the other one better.

MeFi is the only place where "I guess there's no accounting for taste" seems to mean, "Do you realize how much you suck?"

Who's going to take the obligatory Metafilter: slogan setup?
posted by emelenjr at 8:25 AM on March 17, 2004

Rich Mackin's Consumer Defense Corporate Poetry (scroll down a little) is interesting as well.
posted by Vidiot at 8:39 AM on March 17, 2004

Slightly OT: I used to know the woman who "discovered" Ted L. Nancy--according to her, she found the manuscript in the unsolicited "slush pile" while working as an editorial assistant at Avon Books. So it's a safe bet that Mr. Nancy is not Jerry Seinfeld.
posted by Prospero at 9:02 AM on March 17, 2004

# | Plus, I thought Seinfeld stole this idea from Don Novello


Wait, wait, wait, wait. Are you implying that Nancy and Seinfeld are one and the same?

I could be misinterpreting you. I've only had my second cup of coffee this morning, so I'm not 'all there', as they say.
posted by antifreez_ at 9:07 AM on March 17, 2004

Barry Marder may be the real author of the Nancy letters.
posted by emelenjr at 9:29 AM on March 17, 2004

There's a senator called Santorum?
Isn't that like being called Felch or something?
posted by Mocata at 9:35 AM on March 17, 2004

This looks fake. The jokes are in red. Why is that?
posted by norm at 10:21 AM on March 17, 2004

To highlight them.

Why would anybody fake responses from only ten senators?
posted by bondcliff at 10:44 AM on March 17, 2004

Lather, Rinse, Repeat.... Long live Laszlo! I actually only found out much later that the same Don Novello played Father Guido Sarducci on SNL. This raised the (I thought) otherwise rather tame Father Guido greatly in my adolescent esteem.

Sometimes I really wish I had been a grownup in the 70s...
posted by ubi at 10:57 AM on March 17, 2004

Rick Santorum isn't named after the by-product of anal sex, rather, the fecal/lubricant cocktail was named after him.
posted by car_bomb at 11:51 AM on March 17, 2004

I was so disappointed that my write-in vote for Lazlo Toth for governor of California didn't work.
posted by scody at 4:50 PM on March 17, 2004

er, make that "write-in campaign didn't work." I think the vote itself "worked," insofar as this is not Florida. Though why should I be so sure? [/digression]
posted by scody at 4:51 PM on March 17, 2004

stupidsexyFlanders dogwelder stole my comment!

The best part about Father Guido, I always thought, was that he was the "gossip columnist and rock critic for the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano."
posted by LeLiLo at 9:46 AM on March 18, 2004

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