California Democrat Enlists Former “Seinfeld” Star to Mock Dana Rohrabacher

A new ad features Jason Alexander, dad jokes, and dinosaur farts

Jason AlexanderHarley Rouda for Congress

Former Seinfeld star Jason Alexander has a new role. In a new campaign ad, he plays the moderator of a mock debate between Democratic congressional hopeful Harley Rouda and his Southern California district’s 15-term Republican incumbent, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher.

The three-minute clip features an increasingly baffled-looking Alexander lobbing questions at a monitor showing news clips of Rohrabacher. On the other side of the stage, Rouda dishes out dad-joke takedowns in a noticeably stiff attempt at thespianism.

In response to a question about his position on climate change, a soundbite of Rohrabacher at a 2007 hearing plays: “Just so you know, global warming is a total fraud… We don’t know what those other cycles were caused by in the past. Could be dinosaur flatulence or who knows.” Rouda responds, “The only dinosaurs around Orange County are in theme parks. Ninety-seven percent of scientists know climate change is being driven by our overuse of fossil fuels.”

Michael McLaughlin, Rouda’s campaign manager, says that Alexander is friends with a Rouda supporter and agreed to participate in the spot for free. The “lighthearted” skit, he says, presents Rouda as the “right choice to go up against Dana Rohrabacher.”

The ad was launched online with less than two weeks before the June 5 primary election, in which Rouda will face a crowded field of 12 candidates, including Rohrabacher. 

The response to the spot, McLaughlin says, has been positive. Yet not everyone is in love with it. “My god,” wrote one commenter on YouTube, “This was one of the cringiest things I’ve ever seen. Whoever convinced you to spend even a dollar on making this should quit campaigns, and it obviously cost way more than a dollar.”

The ad cost eight grand to produce, according to McLaughlin. “We’ve been sitting on this script for months and waiting to find the right person to execute it,” he says. When asked about its unusual length, he says, “I think the Jason Alexander part is a good enough of hook to get someone committed to watch it through.”

OUR NEW CORRUPTION PROJECT

The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate