Before Bernie Sanders appears on SNL, watch his early movie roles in vintage rom-coms.

Before Bernie Sanders’ SNL Debut Tonight, Behold His Early Roles in Vintage Rom-Coms

Before Bernie Sanders’ SNL Debut Tonight, Behold His Early Roles in Vintage Rom-Coms

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Slate's Culture Blog
Feb. 6 2016 11:52 AM

Before Bernie Sanders’ SNL Debut Tonight, Behold His Early Roles in Vintage Rom-Coms

Sanders-X-Girlfriend's-Wedding-Manny-Shevitz

Still from YouTube

Bernie Sanders is set to appear on Saturday Night Live tonight, alongside host Larry David, the man born to play him. For his part, Sanders established his acting bona fides in the ’80s and ’90s, when he began his late-blooming film career in two romantic comedies. In 1999’s My X-Girlfriend’s Wedding Reception, the then–member of the U.S. House of Representatives went method as the ranting Rabbi Manny Shevitz, who uses the titular wedding reception as a platform to condemn the 1957 transfer of the Brooklyn Dodgers to Los Angeles—which was in real life a traumatic and politically formative event for the politician.

While the role of Shevitz was clearly a deeply personal one for Sanders, he was glaringly underused in 1988’s Sweet Hearts Dance, featuring Don Johnson, Susan Sarandon, and Jeff Daniels. Still, Sanders’ scene can barely conceal its radical socialist agenda, with Sanders appearing as a man engaged in a plot of distributing wealth to the needy in the form of candy to trick-or-treaters.

Alexandra Coakley is Slate’s excerpts assistant.