Casting an entirely new but peculiar light on the notion of dirty politics, small screen comic Al Shearer toned down all the NC-17 leaning filthy-minded stuff peppering his election campaign documentary, The Other Black Guy Running For President, for this relatively PG rated telephone conversation. And while totally certain that he wants and needs to be president, Shearer on the other hand insisted he had no idea how he got be funny. Though he suspects his humor may be automatic, and something to do with either being dropped or hatched that way at birth. The lanky motormouth also talked punking his way through the Iowa Straw poll; what he may or may not have in common with Michael Moore and another massive dude, the Incredible Hulk; about a position he’s offering me as his campaign partner because he liked my questions so much; and where he’s headed politically after hanging up the phone. And, how hitting the Big Apple from LA during our brutal heat wave, has been melting his eyebrows.
AL SHEARER: How ya doin’? This is Al Shearer, the other black guy running for president!
PRAIRIE MILLER: Yes, I know! And sorry you had to come to New York City during this awful heat wave.
AS: Oh yeah, I looked outside my hotel window, and my eyebrows started melting!
PM: Now, are you really running for president, or is this all just a gimmick for you, to make a funny movie?
AS: It’s a combination of many things! Most important, I kinda realized that the world was just crumbling around me. And I was tired of watching on the news and with people I know, watching the world just disintegrate.
So I decided, I have to do something about this. As opposed to just sitting around and watching it all happen, and feeling helpless. And like with Occupy, I see a lot of people with their engines running, but nobody is putting it in drive and going anywhere.
And if you’re gonna do something, you have to do it loud enough so people take notice. And kinda shaking things up. So I thought, let me give Obama a little run for the money. Because you never know what might happen with the little engine that could!
PM: Now on a personal note, in your film you make assurances that an important part of your platform if elected, is tax breaks for blondes. And since I am blonde I want to know, is that for real?
AS: Ah ha! I would say, yes. No, I would say absolutely! They do say blondes have more fun. And just a little incentive goes a long way. So if blondes are having a little bit more fun and shaking the game up a little more, they’re gonna get my attention.
PM: So you’ll change it up a little, and in addition to blondes have more fun, it’s blondes have more tax breaks?
AS: Whoa! I like where you’re going. I’m gonna make you my campaign partner. Hello, hello!
PM: Okay, how come you refer to yourself as ‘the other black guy running for president,’ and why not Obama as the other guy instead? With you as the main contender, and Obama as the afterthought?
AS: Well, there’s already one black guy in office. And people tend to go, oh there’s already one, that’s good enough. Or, we already got one, we don’t need another one! Well hey, there’s me. There’s Al Shearer. So yeah.
And it also has a nice little ring to it too. So that’s also kind of a little subliminal promotion. Like, he’s the other one. Oh, cool. I got it. I’m on point now!
PM: Do you think the time has come to have a comedian in the White House?
AS: I think it is. The government needs a better sense of humor. Not to take anything lightly by any means, but your brain just spins in a different way.
And there would be a different approach, if you added a comedic flair to things. Everything in the White House is so up tight and strait laced. Let your hair down a little bit!
PM: And why did you decide to become a comic in the first place?
AS: It just happened. To quote Lady Gaga, I was born this way, I dunno. So it just kinda happened, it’s there. Off the assembly line, I came out this way!
PM: But you also take a lot of abuse for your jokes and funny pranks with your comedy, as we see in this movie. Doesn’t that discourage you from being funny?
AS: By no means. I have a teflon will, and everything that hits me bounces right off. I’m kinda like the Incredible Hulk. It just hits me, bounces off, and I’m on to the next thing.
And a lot of times, the way people take things so seriously, you find the comedy and the humor in the things people say and do. And their attitudes.
Because they are so serious, they are so up tight, and they carry so much baggage. That you just kinda look at them and go, let me lighten you. Let me put a smile on your face.
And even if you don’t realize it now, once you get home you’ll realize that you should be smiling. And doing a lot more laughing.
PM: Al, why a funny movie, rather than a serious one about the tragic stuff going down in this country?
AL: Funny oftentimes gets the point across, as opposed to preaching to somebody. So it’s kind of like a bitter pill. We have to realize that the recession is still in full swing. And the news every day kinda sweeps it under the rug. So I thought, let me shake up some things.
And funny has a tendency to camouflage. So if you coat that bitter pill in sugar, it’s easier to digest. When people preach to you, you might turn a deaf ear or blind eye to it. But with my movie, you’re laughing.
PM: Where were you and what were you up to, when you decided to run for president?
AS: It was simply looking at people and going, you know what? It’s time to make a change. And then watching the other candidates running and going, are you kidding me? C’mon man. And I was like, if they can run, surely I can.
Like they’re just going to get in there, and be puppets of the puppet master, as it were. And the corporations and big banks are not gonna worry about the little person. And I have to take a stand for people who lost houses and job, and savings and everything else. For the little man’s sake. And just change everything up.
PM: And how do you see yourself as bringing something new and different to the political table?
AS: Funny transcends everything. And people divide up into different political parties. But if you’re going to be funny, funny is across the board. And I’m just a crazy kid. Born, like dropped when I was born. Hatched!
And I don’t know what it is that makes me the way I am. But through my comedy, it enables me to definitely give people an ability to tolerate things they wouldn’t normally be able to tolerate, through comedy.
PM: Talk about your style of guerrilla filmmaking, why you chose it, and how you think it can be more effective than conventional documentary filmmaking.
AS: I came from a show on BET called Hits From The Streets. And I kinda employ a sense of comedy where I’m in your face, and I’m out in the streets. Then I went from that to doing a show Punk’d on MTV, where we were kind of in you face, in the mix, and we popped out of nowhere.
You know, kinda like a black leprechaun. Or a chocolate covered ninja! We pop up all over everywhere. And so that’s kinda been like my tag. And through that type of comedy, you get people’s attention. So I’m just kinda going to keep doing what I do. And shakin’, rattlin’ and roll like that.
Because you’re right out there with the person. As opposed to being somebody in sunglasses giving you the peace sign up on the podium. I’m out in the mix with you, whatever. And being funny so I can get up close and personal with you.
PM: And with your brazen style of moviemaking, do you see yourself as perhaps the black Michael Moore? Or is Michael Moore maybe the white Al Shearer?
AS: Ooh, very nice. I like that! I would say a combination of both things. Like he and I both have a sense of urgency, and getting the wrongs right. And actually being on the front line, as opposed to just talking about it, or complaining about it.
We will go out and tackle the issues, and the root of all the evils, so to speak. He just has a kind of more deadpan approach than I do. And I’m a little bit more fearless, I would say.
He’s got a lot of fearless, he’s got a lotta nasty, yeah! But I’m gonna say Al Shearer edges out Michael Moore. He’s a little bit more stealthy.
PM: Now, are there any deleted scenes from The Other Black Guy Running For President, that might be even more shocking than what’s there?
AS: Oh yeah! We actually had the lawyers from Borat. You know, Borat encountered a lot of lawsuits. And we would have encountered a lot of lawsuits, so we had to delete some things. But it would be too hot for the theaters, definitely.
And we’ve got a lot of stuff, if we’re able to get releases on them in the future. But never being deterred, we marched on.
So there’s a lot of funny bits, crazy chock full of funny. It’s the Walmart of funny. And funny things that you may never get to see, but I’m gonna do my best for everyone to get to see them in the very near future.
PM: Well, can you say which candidates those deleted shocker segments include?
AS: Ah! Hmm. A certain…Mitt Romney! Um, a certain Michele Bachmann. And Rick Perry, and Rick Santorum. There’s a lot of people. But those particular four, were very upset with me!
PM: And you haven’t caught up with Obama?
AS: We haven’t yet.
PM: How come?
AS: He’s got a little bit better security than the others! But we got up close and personal with all the others. And I was easily able to…infiltrate!
PM: So what are your political plans after you hang up the phone?
AS: I’m headed to DC. Because I never sleep, and neither does the system. You gotta keep one step ahead. So we’re off down to DC, to chase some more bushes. So that gentleman you were talking about, Obama, he may be seeing me sooner than he thinks.
PM: And has Obama heard about you yet?
AS: Well, it’s something Wikileaks funny. I’ve heard from somebody down in the political scene in DC, that he said something crazy about me. But he has no reason to be fearful of me. Just mindful of me!
PM: Any last words about the state of the nation, off the record if you like?
AS: Off the record and on the record, the wrong people are headed towards office. So a lot of things are being puppeteered and engineered to get your mind away from what’s really going on.
PM: But when you reach deep into the crates, now and again you get people reminded that hey, we’re still in a bad position. So I want to shake people up, shake the bushes and the trees. And say, hey guys. Let’s shake it up.
AS: I won’t stop until I get to the bottom of what I need to get to the bottom of. But either way, I will keep marching ahead. And I will celebrate, celebrate, celebrate.
PM: And any final words for Obama?
AS: Obama drama. Don’t worry about it, my friend. I’m gonna keep you honest. And I’m coming after you. And then I might just ride on past you!
And you, Prairie. Blonde, yes indeed! We’re talking to you. You’ll get a lot to look forward to!