Comedian Sighting

Posted April 4, 2005 at 6:48pm

If Comedy Central’s Dave Chappelle is telling the truth each week when he signs off “I’m rich, biatch!” then the Congressional Federal Credit Union got one hefty deposit on Monday.

The outrageous comic was spotted at the Longworth branch of the credit union with a piece of paper in his hand that one source said looked like a credit application. Turns out, according to sources, Chappelle was opening an account at the bank. He used his Ohio driver’s license as identification. A source said

[IMGCAP(1)] Chappelle had a “goofy-ass smile” in his driver’s license photo.

Chappelle must have been laughing all the way to the bank Monday, seeing as his contract with Comedy Central reportedly is worth close to $50 million.

The sometimes outrageous and wildly popular comedian was able to open an account with the CFCU because his mother, Yvonne Seon, a minister and a college professor, used to work on Capitol Hill. (Congressional employees’ relatives are eligible to join the credit union.) According to her biography on theHistoryMakers.com, Seon worked in the 1960s at the State Department and later worked briefly for the late Rep. Charles Diggs (D-Mich.).

After lots of staffers stopped to gawk at Chappelle and say hello to him through the glass windows at the credit union, employees moved the star to a back room for more privacy. Sources described Chappelle, whose comedy show “Chappelle’s Show” appears Wednesday nights on Comedy Central, as “very nice” and “down to earth.”

Proud Hubby. Typically, politicians don’t love the press. But one Member of Congress does, especially since the reporter he loves most won the Pulitzer Prize on Monday.

Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Connie Schultz, wife of Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio.), won journalism’s most coveted prize for commentary. She was the first journalist at The Plain Dealer in more than 50 years to win a Pulitzer, according to the paper.

Schultz, 47, was cited for what the judges called her “pungent columns that provided a voice for the underdog and underprivileged,” according to The Associated Press. “A teary-eyed Schultz wore a tiara and held several bouquets of flowers as colleagues sipped champagne and ate pieces of a cake shaped like an edition of the newspaper.”

Her winning columns included commentary on the state’s gay-marriage ban and on management confiscating tips paid to their coat-check workers. She’s also known at the paper for her 26-part series chronicling a woman’s battle with cancer, which was a runner-up for the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing.

Congratulations to Schultz. And happy upcoming anniversary to the Congressman and his Pulitzer-winning wife! They were married on April 10, 2004. Maybe the paper anniversary celebration will be Schultz’s treat. She’ll receive $10,000 from the Pulitzer Prize Board, and another $10,000 from The Plain Dealer.

Gannon at Press Club. The Jeff Gannon show will go on as planned at the National Press Club on Friday. No joke: Gannon, the faux White House reporter whose real name is James Guckert, is a key guest on a morning panel titled “Who is a Journalist?”

Liberal bloggers, who outed Gannon as a conservative operative and a former male prostitute, are irate that Gannon has been invited to speak on the press club panel instead of one of their own. They’ve been clamoring to have Gannon replaced on the panel by John Aravosis, who uncovered Gannon’s real identity.

But club officials aren’t going for it, and they insist they’re going to sharply question Gannon about how he wound up covering the Bush White House with no prior journalism experience.

“I don’t think John Aravosis is the only person in the world who’s capable of criticizing Jeff Gannon,” said Mike Madden, a reporter with Gannett News Service who will moderate Friday’s panel discussion.

The panel will also include Julie Hirschfeld Davis of the Baltimore Sun, chairwoman of the Standing Committee on Correspondents for the House and Senate press galleries, which denied press credentials to Gannon.

Rick Dunham, president of the National Press Club and a White House correspondent for BusinessWeek magazine, said they plan to ask Gannon how he got into the White House and why he considered himself a journalist.

“He should answer that question. The alternative is to censor somebody. We believe in free speech and tough questions,” Dunham told HOH.

Aravosis, who runs the site Americablog.org, said he feels the mainstream media is blowing off legitimate journalist bloggers.

“The Press Club is giving GannonGuckert the keys to the city while telling the blogger-journalists who exposed him to take a hike,” Aravosis wrote in an e-mail to HOH. He added that Gannon’s appearance raises a question: “In order to speak at the Press Club, do you have to be a plagiarist AND a prostitute, or is one sufficient?”

Bush, Clinton and Applebee’s. Think of President Bush, former President Bill Clinton and the quintessentially middle-America restaurant chain Applebee’s. What do they have in common? We’ll find out when three authors, and strange bedfellows, team up to write a book being published by Simon and Schuster next fall.

The three are Doug Sosnik, a senior adviser for six years to Clinton, Matthew Dowd, chief strategist for Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign, and Ron Fournier, chief political writer for The Associated Press. They’ve been working on the book for about three months already.

In its compelling tease, Simon and Schuster promises that the book will explain how “two great politicians, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and one groundbreaking company, the fast-growing restaurant chain Applebee’s Inc., used similar tactics to thrive in an era of immense changes.”

Everyone is being vague about the book, but lawyer Robert Barnett, who has been working with Sosnik, Dowd and Fournier, predicts it “will be of great interest to political people, marketing people and the general reader.” He says it’ll show that Bush, Clinton and Applebee’s all used similar grass-roots techniques to market their different products.

Dowd, now a corporate consultant in Austin who is also teaching a class at the University of Texas, told HOH he and his co-writers have “visited a lot of folks” at corporate headquarters at Applebee’s. He assured HOH that readers will understand once the book comes out why they chose to compare Bush and Clinton and Applebee’s.

“Where they’ve located their stores is a reflection of what’s going on in society,” he said. “Applebee’s seemed to be a great match for confronting societal changes.”

Dowd added that he, Sosnik and Fournier all get along very well. “We have a great sense of humor and don’t take ourselves seriously,” he said.

Please send your hot tips, juicy gossip or comments to hoh@rollcall.com.