First, we heard there would be a surprise speaker at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Then we heard rumors that a Hollywood actor would be speaking. Finally, we heard that Clint Eastwood would take the stage. Still, when we tuned in last night, we were pretty surprised.
Nobody told us Eastwood would be doing stand-up.
Eastwood's first stint on the comedy scene was a little shaky, but what did you expect from a first-timer? Despite stumbling over his words and using some pretty dark material, by the end, he had the audience chanting along with his catchphrase. By comedy standards, that's a huge success.
Watch for yourself, and read our breakdown, after the jump.
0:19: You'd think that Clint Eastwood's smile would be less intimidating than Clint Eastwood's derisive sneer. But you would be wrong.
0:40: "I know what you're thinking." I'm guessing he probably doesn't, because I'm thinking this is the penance Eastwood's paying for that "Halftime in America" Super Bowl ad earlier this year.
0:43: "You're thinking, what's a movie tradesman doing out here." Wow. No. Wasn't thinking that at all. I don't think I've ever in my life thought of, let alone used, the phrase "movie tradesman." Shaky start, Eastwood.
1:00: Eastwood's first joke -- There are a lot of conservatives in Hollywood -- totally bombs. Ouch.
1:10: But he rebounds by mentioning hot dogs. Good save. Everyone knows Republicans are powerless under the comedic power of hot dogs.
1:43: "I've got Mr. Obama sitting here." Eastwood points to an empty chair. Oh good, an impression! He's doing Reagan, right?
2:22: "Everyone was crying. Oprah was crying." And the crowd goes wild, because what's funnier than belittling triumph over racism!
2:24: "I was even crying. haven't cried that hard since I found out that there's 23 million unemployed people in this country." Hooray, the crowd cheers! Hooray for unemployment!
3:27: "So, Mr. President..." I can't help feeling like this would be a more entertaining bit if Eastwood had used a more interesting prop. A life-size cut-out of Obama, perhaps. Or one of those giant teddy bears from FAO Schwartz. A small potted cactus sitting on the chair? No, I've got it -- one of those South Beach store mannequins with the giant boobs.
5:27: Eastwood quotes Mitt Romney on Afghanistan. Woah, Clint, risky move. Comedians usually look down on stealing material.
5:40: "I'm not gonna shut up. It's my turn." How great would it be if Clint Eastwood had learned ventriloquism, and used an Obama ventriloquist dummy to actually debate him during this set?
6:02: Imaginary Obama tells Romney to go fuck himself. The crowd digs it, but I'm still convinced it would've been better with an Obama puppet.
6:20: "You're getting as bad as Biden." Topical humor! Well played.
7:00: "I never thought that it was a good idea for attorneys to be President." Geez, Eastwood, you're resorting to lawyer humor already?
7:15: "Attorneys are ... always taught to argue everything and always weigh everything and weigh both sides." Nobody laughs. Well that sarcastic joke fell flat. That was a joke, right?
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10:15: Oh shit, he's got hecklers! The true test of any comedian. I pledge to buy his first stand-up album if he responds with "Get off my lawn."
11:00: No dice, but Eastwood does the next best thing: He gets the whole crowd chanting along with him like he's a real life King of Catchphrase Comedy. Always leave 'em laughing, as they say.
11:13: Thank you and goodnight. Nice finish, kid. I think you've really got a shot in this crazy business.