Steve Martin, “Home Crafts Expert,” Explains the Art of Paper Wadding, Endorses Bob Kerrey

Fed up with polit­i­cal ads? Had enough? Nev­er want to see anoth­er one as long as you live? Con­sid­er watch­ing just one more. Because this one is fun. No, real­ly! Steve Mar­tin, who made prop com­e­dy respectable, endors­es his friend Bob Ker­rey for Nebras­ka Sen­a­tor by pos­ing as a “Home Crafts Expert.” This is the most unob­tru­sive, watch­able piece of polit­i­cal adver­tis­ing I’ve seen, one that trades on what every­one knows to be true—political ads are annoy­ing and dull and politi­cians are not often the most like­able peo­ple. Martin’s ad avoids these pit­falls, and it also makes a very sub­tle point, per­haps with­out even intend­ing to: pol­i­tics is the busi­ness of the every­day (or should be any­way), as essen­tial to us as the com­mon house­hold items we rely on all the time but take for grant­ed.

Now it’s true, of course, not every can­di­date has, or needs, celebri­ty friends. But no mat­ter your pol­i­tics, Martin’s endorse­ment of Ker­rey works as an exam­ple of how polit­i­cal adver­tis­ing could be done dif­fer­ent­ly.

After you’ve watched the ad, you might want to wan­der over to NPR and lis­ten to Mar­tin dis­cuss his 18 years as a stand-up com­ic and his move into act­ing and writ­ing, expe­ri­ences he details in his mem­oir, Born Stand­ing Up.

Josh Jones is a doc­tor­al can­di­date in Eng­lish at Ford­ham Uni­ver­si­ty and a co-founder and for­mer man­ag­ing edi­tor of Guer­ni­ca / A Mag­a­zine of Arts and Pol­i­tics.

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