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TFT Meets... Sam Seder

With the American elections fast approaching, The Friday Thing has a few concerns. Concerns about John Kerry's campaign. Concerns about what will happen if he loses. Concerns about whether to go to Jenna Bush's house party. So many concerns. Thank goodness then for liberal talk radio host, film maker, comedian and soon-to-be TFT Peruvian Correspondent, Sam Seder who interrupted his 'quiet time' after the Republican Convention to put our mind at ease. Here speak he...

10 September 2004

What was the best thing about the Republican convention?

The best thing was the 500,000 (Source: Robert D. Mcfadden, NY Times 30/8) peaceful protestors who marched to greet the delegates the day before the convention started. Though it was vastly underreported it was gratifying and stole some of the headlines on the first day of the convention.

While I didn't like any of the convention I did enjoy the Republicans putting an insane ranter on as their keynote speaker (Zell Miller). They really wanted to show they had democratic support and all they could find was this Ultra-Right, alzheimered, uber Christian, who went on to challenge newspeople to a duel. A literal duel. I really enjoyed when the Republicans later had to claim 'he was speaking for himself'- an odd thing to say about your keynote speaker.

What does John Kerry need to do to win in November?

I think Kerry needs to focus more on the economy and begin introducing more populist language into his campaign. The war in Iraq is a disaster and he should continue to speak of it but he must remind Americans that Bush has been a failure in every facet of his Presidency. In the final analysis, all of us who don't want to see the rich get richer at the expense of the rest of society, a series of bloody needless wars and diminished civil rights, need to mobilize voters who have never voted before.

And what will happen to America if he loses?

The most irreversible damage to American society will take place in an area in which the public tends not to realise is crucially important - the Federal judiciary. Both the Supreme Court and the Federal Court of Appeals make huge decisions that affect our lives on a daily basis. From civil rights, to credit cards, from labor and consumer protections to deciding who gets to be President (see 2000). These judges get lifetime appointments and George Bush will continue to pack the courts with pro-corporate and Christian Conservative judges.

In addition to that, after four more years expect to see much more fear, much more terrorism, more war, less taxes on the super rich, more taxes on the middle class (you got to get revenues from somewhere), a massive deficit, privatized homeland security, the destruction of social security and medicare as public trusts.

Tell us an amusing behind-the-scenes story about Air America.

The radio industry thought a liberal talk radio network was a horrible business plan. Turns out, our founder was lying about how much money he had invested in the company to the employees and to other investors (so as not to devalue his shares). After he stopped paying people we figured out he was a charlatan. He was gone a week later. A week after that our ratings came out and were shockingly strong, we've now added nearly 20 new stations and the network is a great success. Some times it takes a con man to get things off the ground.

Michael Moore: fearless champion of the little guy or self-promoting blowhard?

Fearless champion of the little guy. To have any commercial success in just about anything it is a pre-requisite that you be a self-promoter. That's why I am doing this interview.

Sarah Jessica Parker: comic genius or clown-face?

I wouldn't say clown face and I would never say comic or genius in referencing her.

Two house party invitations arrive in the mail. One from the Bush twins. One from Rush Limbaugh. Whose party do you attend, and why?

I would never attend a party such as this without having at least a hidden audio recording device - probably video as well. (I have what some might consider a 'problem' in this regard. I enjoy recording assholes without their knowledge). As such I would attend Limbaugh's party to get 'damaging' audio clips for my own amusement and the amusement of the million or so people who listen to the Majority Report. The Bush twins bore me. They are hopelessly stupid as their address to the Republican convention showed and everyone knows it and don't care.

What is Ralph Nader's problem?

I'm not sure. It is impossible for me to believe that his agenda is anything but to cause another Bush administration with the hopes of creating such enormous polarization that it creates real reform in this country. I think that plan is ineffective and irresponsible. Bush's policies hurt the most disenfranchised, the weakest and the poorest amongst us. There are Americans without food, jobs and a future because we elected Bush. There are Iraqi kids with their arms blown off because we elected Bush.

Some people I've talked to who know him say he is just a total idealist and won't accept any compromise and some have said they genuinely think he is suffering from senility.

Complete this sentence. 'I once...'

Twice, three times a lady and I love you.

Tell us about Pilot Season.

Pilot Season is a six part comedy mini-series sequel to a movie I made seven years ago called 'who's the caboose?'. Both are playing on the Trio Network this month. They are a faux verite comedies starring myself, Sarah Silverman, Andy Dick, David Cross and Jon Benjamin. Both projects are low budget and I think they are funny. We got good reviews.

And finally, have you ever been to Peru?

No. But I'd like to. Are you hiring correspondents?


Sam Seder is a comedian, writer, director and now liberal talk show host living in New York City. He hosts the Majority Report with Janeane Garofalo every night M-F from 7-10 pm.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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