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Gary Kroeger’s Candidacy Is No Laughing Matter

These days, you are more likely to find funnyman Gary Kroeger poring over think tank reports than cracking wise on a late-night sketch comedy show.  

The Saturday Night Live alumnus, who was cast mates with comedy legends Billy Crystal, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Eddie Murphy and Martin Short, is now eyeing a different TV audience to court: C-SPAN viewers.  

Kroeger Tuesday announced his intention to unseat Iowa Republican Rod Blum, joining the mounting class of challengers vying to win their way to Washington.  

Though he’s never held public office before — “I consider that a strength as I believe (along with many others) that in order to improve the conversation in Washington we always need new voices from the people,” Kroeger told HOH via email — the former actor is no stranger to politics. Fellow screen vets who found their way to Capitol Hill

  • Rep. Sonny Bono, R-Calif.
  • Rep. Sean P. Duffy, R-Wis.
  • Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn.
  • Rep. Fred Grandy, R-Iowa
  • Rep. Ben Jones, D-Ga.
  • Sen. George Murphy, R-Calif.
  • Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn.

Whether parsing data from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in his recently shelved column for the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier or delving into the tax treatment of corporate America on his personal blog, it’s clear Kroeger wants to get his wonk on.  

Should he carry the day next November, the House hopeful intends to be as pro-active as possible.  

“The top three issues are always the Economy, the Economy and the Economy, and the central issue is to expand the Middle Class (the consumer class) from tax breaks and re-investment,” he said when pressed about his anticipated agenda. Kroeger billed education (“integral to economic growth and prosperity,” he asserted), civil rights (“must always be front and center in a progressive agenda”), eco-awareness (“nothing works without stewardship of the environment”) and labor concerns (“I cannot exclude the working men and women either by supporting what supports them — collective bargaining.”) as other areas of personal interest.  

In terms of leadership, Kroeger indicated he holds Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., Franken and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley in the highest esteem.  

“They represent the logical, compassionate views I share,” Kroeger said.  

And just where does a former TV star turned advertising executive develop the wherewithal to challenge the status quo?  

From one of the greats, of course.  

“I learned ‘confidence’ from Eddie Murphy. I saw that to be comfortable with who you are so that you are unafraid of failure is the greatest gift you can give yourself,” Kroeger shared. “Not ‘cocky’ or arrogant, but ‘sure’ and confident in your abilities.”  

Loyalty is another major component of his life — a point illustrated by his continuing friendship with writer/director Brad Hall.

Brad Hall and I wrote this one. I've always like it. We liked pieces that had a story arc; not exactly the SNL formula. Posted by Gary Kroeger on Thursday, February 12, 2015

“Brad Hall and I remain close,” he said of his former SNL cast mate, adding, “I see Tim Kazurinsky now and again, too.” (Long live Mr. Sweetchuck!)  

Kroeger reimmersed himself in the pool of crazy talented folks who’ve graced the stage at Studio 8H during the recent SNL 40th Anniversary special . Getting the gang back together turned out to be quite the head trip, as Kroeger — who chronicled the once-in-lifetime event on social media — discovered after mingling with myriad icons.  

“I was most bowled over by my brief meeting with Paul McCartney,” Kroeger said of the star-studded evening. “But I must say that Paul Rudd’s kindness, as well as Bob Odenkirk, Jim Breuer, Steve Higgins and David Koechner were highlights for me and my teenage son.”  

And he’s not opposed to stepping back in front of the camera to help get his message across.  

In terms of dream bookings, Kroeger would love to match wits with Daily Show host Jon Stewart (“The gold standard,” he gushed.), Real Time’s Bill Maher or SiriusXM personality John Fugelsang.  

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