Beyond Self-Parody: Roy Wood Jr.'s Word-by-Word Reenactment of Herschel Walker's Vampires and Werewolves Speech
It's clear that the country is in trouble when comedians are plagiarizing politicians’ stump speeches in their stand-up sets.
Two days ago, Herschel Walker, the former NFL player, abortion clinic rewards member and aspiring U.S. senator whom Dave Chappelle described as “observably stupid,” delivered one of the most confusing and nonsensical stump speeches of his young political career. Walker stumbled through a bizarre plot summary of a film that he couldn’t even name correctly while on the pulpit in McDonough, Georgia, ahead of his runoff election against Raphael Warnock next month. The line, “A werewolf can kill a vampire, did you know that? I never knew that, so I didn’t want to be a vampire anymore. I wanted to be a werewolf” was uttered in a speech that was about… faith, maybe?
Daily Show correspondent Roy Wood Jr. tweeted of the speech, “Elected official?…nah. But ngl, I’d pay $25 and two drink minimum to watch an hour of this shit at the comedy club.” That night, Wood put his money where his mouth was and repeated a full minute of the speech verbatim at a stand-up show at Katz’ Delicatessen in New York City, declaring of Walker, “Mans got a future in comedy.”
The rambling review of what is probably the film Fright Night (though Walker wasn’t sure) played slightly better to a comedy audience than a confused crowd of voters, but Wood’s decision to dedicate a full minute of his set to the unannotated recitation of Walker’s speech was more of a proof-of-concept than anything else. He wanted to see if a comedy crowd could get their money’s worth out of Walker’s confusing film criticism, and the reception in the club was warm enough to prove him right.
Wood’s set is reminiscent of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s famous Saturday Night Live sketch wherein the pair re-enacted an interview between then-vice president nominee and now former reality TV star Sarah Palin and newscaster Katie Couric. Fey repeated Palin’s words practically verbatim and ended up winning the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for doing little more than dressing up like a political candidate and repeating things they said.
Wood might not win any awards for his Walker impression, and Walker might not win any elections if he can’t posit points more salient than “this actor, he’s all fake, he’s blessing the house with the holy water” when speaking about the important issues facing his state. But the Georgia runoff election isn’t until December 6th, so there’s plenty of time for Lorne Michaels to tap Wood for a special appearance on SNL.
As for Walker, we anxiously await his next press conference when he’ll inaccurately describe the plot of Red Dawn in a speech about school lunches.