No comedy would be complete without the Wacky Screwup Brother, the Zach Galifianakis in The Hangover-type who is there to throw a wrench in everything with some sort of stupid scheme (also see: Gob Bluth from Arrested Development). It's not so funny in real life. Especially if, say, the level-headed sibling is one of the world's most powerful people, and the wacky screw-up brother is in a position to cause an international incident.
OK, so maybe it is funny after all.
5Hillary Clinton's Brothers, Tony and Hugh Rodham
While Bill Clinton's coke-addled half-brother, Roger, was a continued embarrassment to his presidency, it can be said he at least caused no major international incidents. The same doesn't exactly apply to his wife's brothers, Tony and Hugh Rodham, who almost cost the United States a crucial ally in Eastern Europe. And, unlike Roger, it wasn't cocaine that screwed everything up -- it was hazelnuts.
Surprisingly, there's no double meaning there. We're talking about the actual nuts.
First off, Tony and Hugh did not exactly have much going for them from the start. While Hillary was off getting a law degree and marrying Bill, her brothers bounced around to various odd jobs such as prison guard and repo man. Then their brother-in-law got elected president in 1992, and they had it made.
At first, Tony and Hugh did little things, like trying to get corporate donations for upcoming election parties, but Hillary had to tell them to knock it off. And then in 1999, they teamed up for a get rich quick scheme to import hazelnuts from the country of Georgia. It doesn't seem like the kind of thing that they could fuck up on an "international incident" scale, but like wacky sitcom brothers, they found a way.
They're just short of trying to save the local teen center with dance.
The problem was that the U.S. government needed to stay on good terms with Georgia's government, since they were helping out during the war in Kosovo. America was thus friendly with Georgian president Eduard Shevardnadze. But the guy in charge of the hazelnut company the Rodham brothers were dealing with was Aslan Abashidze, Shevardnadze's archenemy.
So when word of this hazelnut deal got out with the Clinton in-laws attached, it made the Clintons look like they were working against the Georgian president behind the scenes.
The Clintons asked the Rodham brothers to drop it for the good of, you know, not destabilizing a former hostile Soviet territory. They actually refused for a while, before finally agreeing to let it go for the good of Georgia. Since then, Hillary has kept the two out of the public eye, despite them wanting to help her campaigns. If she'd become president in 2008, we're thinking that by now at least one of these guys would have come up with a hair-brained scheme to sell the nuclear arsenal to a dude they knew in college.
Fuckin' Gary, man. Guy's a trip.
4President Jimmy Carter's Brother, Billy Carter
In the late 1970s, Americans got laughs from two major sources: A coked-up Robin Williams playing an alien named Mork, and Jimmy Carter's beer swilling brother, Billy Carter. Almost immediately following Jimmy's inauguration in 1977, the press started to take an interest in his eccentric family, especially the gas station good ol' boy from small-town Georgia, Billy.
Suddenly finding himself in the nation's spotlight, Billy took advantage of the situation by playing up his redneck roots and marketing his own brand of beer called Billy Beer. OK, that's kind of embarrassing for a president, but it certainly isn't a crime. But Billy would continually act obnoxious around his brother (in front of the press) and was even caught urinating on an airport runway in full view of foreign dignitaries (and again, the press).
"Seriously. A lot. It's gotten to be a major problem."
But still, it's not like all of that had any real consequences. But then Billy decided to take it upon himself to visit Libya, to try to expand the oil trade between that country and the U.S.
If you think he wasn't exactly qualified to declare himself a "delegate" on behalf of the U.S. then you're dead wrong, because Billy was in every way, shape and form an oil magnate. And by that, we mean he owned a gas station.
Not many politicians can boast that kind of experience.
So why would he suddenly get so ambitious? Well, after his visit to Libya in 1978, Billy returned to the U.S. with $20,000, which would eventually become $220,000, ostensibly for a "loan" (according to the CIA, a telegraph showed the payments received were probably closer to $2 million). Amazingly, Libya was apparently paying him off because they thought Billy, as Jimmy's brother, held major sway in U.S. policy.
He did not.
The whole Libya situation led to a scandal that became known as "Billygate," for which the U.S. Senate wound up holding hearings to grill Billy on the nature of his visit and the purpose of the money he received.
Jimmy was angry at his brother and was concerned that he was now working for an enemy nation, but Billy was ultimately cleared after the Senate investigation in 1980. Throughout the rest of President Carter's term, Billy kept making headlines, but this time for his trouble with the IRS and selling his house to pay back taxes.
"So, me paying for these chicken wings makes us even, right?"