Vice President Joe Biden and Amy Poehler, who plays Leslie Knope, appear on the set of NBC's 'Parks and Recreation.'/NBC
by Ryan Cormier, The (Wilmington, Del.) News Journal
After enduring four years as one of late-night television's favorite punchlines, Vice President Joe Biden is ready to make the jokes and not just be the butt of them.
Delaware's most famous export will make his comedic acting debut on NBC's Parks and Recreation at 9:30 p.m. Thursday. It seems an appropriate way to wind down his first term in the White House, especially considering all the material he's provided comedy writers.
While President Obama has largely evaded the poison-tipped zingers of late-night talk show hosts compared to other presidents, the avuncular vice president has been a favorite target.
With that in mind, Parks star Aubrey Plaza, a Delaware native, soaked in her time filming with Biden in his offices at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in July, which was kept secret until after the election due to campaign equal-time rules.
Plaza gives him high marks for his table-turning performance, noting that politicking and acting have a lot in common.
"He was so funny, you'll see. He is a great improvisor and has really good timing," says Plaza, sneaking off the show's set earlier this week to talk to The News Journal about the very Delaware-y episode of her sitcom.
Biden has emerged as a bona fide national character - whether it's in his official capacity, like his one-man show at the vice presidential debate filled with guffaws, stupefied looks and arm-waving, or in the world of political satire as an object of ridicule.
The satirical newspaper The Onion has a particular fascination with him. A recent Biden headline read, "Eloquent Biden Brings Entire Audience To Tears In Debate Stunner."
Biden, who turns 70 next week, even took a few lumps in No Easy Day, the memoir by SEAL Team 6 member Matt Bissonnette about the daring raid that ended with the killing of Osama bin Laden. Bissonnette wrote that Biden told "lame jokes that no one got" and added that Biden, a known non-drinker, reminded him of a "drunk uncle at Christmas dinner."
In the latest campaign, Biden's hands-on approach with voters went viral, especially a photo of him in September at an Ohio diner with two male bikers looking on as he gave a female biker a shoulder rub as she smiled. After flashing the photo during Jimmy Kimmel Live, Kimmel deadpanned, "If he wins this thing, he's going to win it one unwanted back massage at a time."
No matter how harsh the joke, Delawareans seem to take pride in their most famous son. Delaware may be small, but it swells with a tight-knit pride.
"One of the coolest things about him and everyone in Delaware is this weird Delaware pride we all have," Plaza says. "I don't know what it is. Maybe it's something in the chemicals leaking into the ground, but we're all really psyched about being from Delaware and he's the face of that."