One of the newly elected federal deputies for Sao Paulo, Brazil, is a clown. No, not in the figurative way, but literally: A clown won a senate seat. Francisco Oliveira Silva, or Tiririca, his clown name, was elected to Brazil’s congress with more than 1.3 million votes, according to the BBC. Tiririca is a well-known celebrity comedian in Brazil, and is one of many celebrities who ran for office this election cycle. Tiririca ran several funny video ads that must have sealed his victory over ex-Rio De Janeiro governor Antony Garotinho.
Tiririca isn’t the first fringe candidate to enter politics. Here are three others that Americans won’t soon forget.
Al Franken was famously an SNL featured player from 1977 to 1995. His most memorable skit was about Stuart Smalley, a self-help expert. Besides his SNL days, Franken was also known for his comedic takes on politics in many of his books, such as Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot and Lies (And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them):A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right. Franken decided in 2008 to run for U.S. Senate in Minnesota against then Republican incumbent Norm Coleman, according to CNN. What followed was a recount because the election was so close. Franken was declared the winner by the state election board and began serving his term in 2009. Franken was so memorable because he wasn’t taken seriously by Coleman, and wound up winning a recent victory.
Mary Carey is a fringe political candidate who won’t soon be forgotten. Carey is known for her many roles in adult films, and decided to run for governor of California in 2003. Carey managed to finish in 10th place with 11,000 votes in the recall of Governor Gray Davis, according to Wired. Even though there were many movie stars who also ran, Carey gets the title of first porn star to run for governor. She decided to run again against Governor Schwarzenegger in 2006, but had to drop out because her mother became sick, according Contact Music. Her candidacy was one that California soon won’t forget.
The top fringe political candidate would have to be Jesse Ventura. Ventura was a former professional wrestler, nicknamed Jesse “The Body” Ventura. The reason why he is so memorable is because he successfully turned a career in entertainment around into being known as a serious political candidate. He was elected governor of Minnesota for the Independence Party for one term, according to The Christian Science Monitor. Although Ventura was seen as a joke at first, he proved them all wrong, and is probably more well-known for being an author and a former governor then for his wrestling days.
The lesson to be learned is that career politicians shouldn’t underestimate their opponents. So, watch out career politicians, because entertainers are coming to a race near you.
Latin America, “No joke as Brazil clown tops votes for Congress” BBC
Chris Welch, “Panel to declare Franken winner of Senate Race” CNN
Stewart Rutledge, “Mary Carey to Star in Adult Films” Wired
News, “Mary Carey – Carey Drops Out of California Governor Race” Contact Music
Andrew Heining, “Stephen Colbert and laughable politics: Five comedians who ran for office” The Christian Science Monitor”