Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Joe the Plumber Changes Professions, Goes Hollywood

The man whose name became synonymous with his profession during the 2008 presidential election is trying to change jobs, and with it, his identity.

A former plumber, Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher shot to fame during the final presidential debate between then Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Barack Obama, D-Ill., after McCain repeatedly referenced "Joe the Plumber" in discussing how Obama's tax proposal would affect small businesses. Three days prior, Wurzelbacher had been expressed his concern about Obama's tax plan, an exchange that was caught by ABC News.

Wurzelbacher said that becoming known as "Joe the Plumber" was in one sense liberating because no one could ever pronounce his last name and frequently thought it was "wienerschnitzel," an Austrian dish consisting of a boneless cutlet as well as a popular U.S. hot dog chain. But the former blue collar worker-turned-political symbol said that such an identifier was outdated since he has not picked up a pipe wrench or charged anyone $100 to remove a hairball in nearly a year.

However, the man formerly known as "Joe the Plumber" may run into some difficulty in gaining widespread acceptance of his new name: "Joe the Thespian." Wurzelbacher said that he had acted in several productions in high school with the highlight being his portrayal of the character Reverend John Hale in The Crucible.

When asked to comment on Wurzelbacher's acting skills, high school drama teacher Penelope Mackerby said that he had delivered his lines "awkwardly but with great gusto."

Acting skills notwithstanding, Wurzelbacher's conservative affiliation isn't likely to go over well in Hollywood, though his commercial potential may yield leads. His agent, Matthew Roman, admitted that he hadn't had any success in getting an audition for his client until he added a Post-it to the headshot saying "Joe the Thespian -- formerly known as Joe the Plumber."

"The curiosity factor alone is usually enough for an audition," he said. "And we've got some pretty good leads -- ABC wants him for an after school special Obama biopic and NBC has contacted us about having him do a cameo on Saturday Night Live."

When a reporter pointed out that in both roles Wurzelbacher would be playing himself -- or rather his Joe the Plumber self -- Roman said that his client was willing to do so in order to get his foot in the door.

"He's a natural and he has great range. Joe has lots of good ideas about other parts he can play, like Popeye," Roman said. His 'I yam what I yam' is dead on and he's been practicing speed eating spinach."

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