‘The full Joe Biden treatment,’ God love him

Over the weekend, Mike Fitts posted on Facebook a link to an excellent, fun piece in The New Yorker, along with the blurb, “For anyone like Brad Warthen who has ever gotten the full Joe Biden treatment:”

Hey, chief. There’s the guy. How you doin’? Got your friends here, party of six. Lady in the hat. Great to see you. My name is Joe Biden and I’ll be your server tonight. Lemme tell you a story. (He pulls up a chair and sits.)

Folks, when I was six years old my dad came to me one night. My dad was a car guy. Hard worker, decent guy. Hadn’t had an easy life. He climbed the stairs to my room one night and he sat on the edge of my bed and he said to me, he said, “Champ, your mom worked hard on that dinner tonight. She worked hard on it. She literally worked on it for hours. And when you and your brothers told her you didn’t like it, you know what, Joey? That hurt her. It hurt.” And I felt (lowers voice to a husky whisper) ashamed. Because lemme tell you something. He was right. My dad was right. My mom worked hard on that dinner, and it was delicious. Almost as delicious as our Chicken Fontina Quesadilla with Garlicky Guacamole. That’s our special appetizer tonight. It’s the special. It’s the special. (His voice rising) And the chef worked hard on it, just like my mom, God love her, and if you believe in the chef’s values of hard work and creative spicing you should order it, although if you don’t like chicken we can substitute shrimp for a small upcharge….

Yep, that’s the Joe Biden I know, God love him.

Thanks, Mike!

14 thoughts on “‘The full Joe Biden treatment,’ God love him

  1. Brad

    My daughter whom I took with me to that Rotary meeting decided she didn’t like Joe Biden very much, in part because he embarrassed her.

    I introduced her to him before the meeting. Then TWICE during his long, energetic address to the club, he singled her out, once as a college student, and again as “this young lady” (he lunged over to our table and leaned across it to gesture to her dramatically) who would have to pay for our generation’s follies, or something along those lines.

    She HATED that.

    By the way, I had let her sit in on a board meeting with Joe Lieberman a couple of years earlier, and she loved THAT Joe.

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  2. Mark Stewart

    Joe Biden was the one speaker in college that I walked out on during his rambling spiel of a lecture. I wasn’t alone in that. It was the late 80’s, but still…

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  3. Brad

    While that interview was the last time I can recall speaking with Joe personally, there were a number of other times before that. I didn’t always end up writing about it, though.

    The first time I met Joe was a couple of years before those clips. I had heard he was coming to town for a speaking engagement on a Friday evening, and I called Fritz Hollings to ask if he could ask Joe to drop by our office, as I had long wanted to meet him. Fritz agreed, and Joe would do anything for Fritz, so he came by. Even though Fridays were our hardest day of the week (even without interruptions, it tended to run to about 12 hours of high-speed, constant stress), I figured it would be worth making some time that afternoon.

    He dropped by, and, not having anywhere to be until that evening, he stayed and talked with us for two hours. Not for any particular purpose — I don’t think I wrote anything about it — just to get acquainted.

    I enjoyed it, and I appreciated both the compliment of his thinking we were worth the time and whatever Fritz had said to him, but boy were we behind when he said his goodbyes…

    Oh, and here’s another, very crude, video (shot with an old Palm Treo, I believe) of Joe really going to town on the Columbia Rotary Club, back in 2006. He was really wound up for that one, so wound up that he did something I’ve never seen any other Rotary speaker do — leave the podium and stalk restlessly among the Rotarians. This was taken after the actual meeting was over. Joe kept talking, and everybody stayed to listen.

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  4. Herb

    Biden strikes me as a guy that I would want representing our country in foreign affairs. For all his faults, he has a shrewd toughness that is needed in that dog fight.

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  5. J

    I met and talked with Biden a few of years ago and he’s a very sharp individual with a sincere, good spirit. Why do you think Sen Thurmond, given all his friends in the Senate and in SC, wanted Biden to do his eulogy. “Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow…”

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  6. Steven Davis II

    @Herb – Even the weakest country leader sees Biden as all bark (and dentures). He’s barely above the lapdog we have in office now who just wants everyone to stroke his back.

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  7. Brad

    So, Mab, am I to take it you caught “Pride and Prejudice” in our early performances, out at Saluda Shoals Park?

    If so, I hate to tell you, that’s not my normal voice. That’s totally affected. I find that it’s easier to maintain an accent that’s not my own if I use a voice other than my normal one. Another factor in it is that I’m playing against type — I’m not at all like Sir William Lucas. He’s such a party animal, English country gentleman style. Doing the voice helps me feel like I AM Sir William while I’m doing it…

    I think of that as my “Lord Haw-Haw” voice. Very hearty, gruff, bombastic, aggressively affable. The sort of chap who would constantly be calling for “three cheers for his Majesty — hip, hip, HUZZAH!”

    As for those who haven’t seen the show, it opens at Finlay Park — a much bigger production there, with more elaborate sets — tomorrow night at 7:30. That’s Wednesday, Oct. 17.

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  8. Brad

    When I say “Lord Haw-Haw,” I’m not saying he’s a Nazi propagandist. But that nickname was given to the propagandist by a critic in the Daily Express who said, “He speaks English of the haw-haw, dammit-get-out-of-my-way-variety.”

    The voice I’m doing is a little like that, only friendlier. Sir William doesn’t have an unkind or ungenerous bone in his body; he wants everyone to have a good time, and is quite insistent about it.

    I’ve never heard “Lord Haw-Haw,” so maybe he sounded totally different. But the name SUGGESTS a certain voice to me — or the voice suggests the name.

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  9. Brad

    And yeah, I know I may be way overthinking a character who only has about seven lines in the whole show, all of them short.

    But I tend to do that, especially over all the weeks of rehearsals. When you don’t have many lines, you spend a lot of time sitting there deciding how you’ll say them when the time comes. It’s kind of like playing right field…

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  10. Mab

    @Brad

    Oh Gosh No — I was talking about your ‘interviewing Joe Biden’ voice. Sounded kind of like you were expecting anything to come out of his mouth once you opened the floodgate that is his mouth, God love ‘him.

    If I were to see a stage play (haven’t gone near one since the eighties when a couple of people had the audacity to think I could sit through one) I would more likely be among the homeless with their ‘odd comment or two’, which can be anything from “psssssssst — yeah I’m talkin’ to you” to “The Lord has been good to u

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  11. Mab

    @Brad

    Oh Gosh No — I was talking about your ‘interviewing Joe Biden’ voice. Sounded kind of like you were expecting anything to come out of his mouth once you opened the floodgate that is his mouth, God love ‘him.

    But if I WERE to see a stage play I might be more likely to be among the homeless and their odd comments & animal calls. Having spent a good bit of time with them last weekend I found that they, like Joe Biden, are prone to emit anything — from a whispered ‘pssssst, yeah, I’m talkin’ to you’, to blowing a ram’s horn at any time.

    Fascinating but tragic other world out there right under our noses.

    But do break a leg or a lamb chop or whatever they say!

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