Dole on a Roll

The former senator plays it for laughs as a political pundit with portfolio at the GOP national convention


Looking for a little levity at the upcoming Republican National Convention? Try tuning in Bob Dole—you remember, the curmudgeonly former Senate Majority Leader who won the GOP presidential nomination last time around—in his new gig on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, where he seems to be angling for a table at the next Friars Club roast. Al Gore’s controversial campaign contributions? “You can see through that like you can [Jennifer] Lopez’s dress,” jokes Dole. And say, Bob, who’s going to win in November? “It’s going to be a four-letter word, that’s for sure.” Ba-da-bing, ba-da-boom! Remember to tip your waitresses—and please drive carefully!

But seriously, folks: Who is this guy, and what has he done with Bob Dole?

“The Republicans are generally viewed as a sort of dour group, and the show gives people a different view,” explains Dole, 77. “Suddenly I’m up there making them laugh. And I might indirectly bring them into the political arena—let them know that it’s not all dull and serious.” Dole is determined to back that up in Philadelphia, starting July 31, as part of The Daily Show’s Indecision 2000 convention coverage. “His words carry more credibility than mine,” observes Daily Show host Jon Stewart. “For the life of me, I don’t know why.”

Dole manufactures his own barbs, although he does tap former aides for the occasional zinger. Bantering with Stewart “keeps you alert and quick,” says Dole. “Most of it is timing and delivery. You may have great stuff, but if you’re slow on the uptake, it won’t work.”

He’s doing just fine, says Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz. “He is a lot funnier as a commentator than he ever was as a presidential candidate.”

After the Republican convention, Dole will also appear on Daily’s Democratic convention and Election Day coverage. “I think humor ought to be part of the training politicians receive,” he says. We’re all entitled to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Pamela’s Cash Card: Found!

“Oh, I can’t believe I did that,” quoth Pamela Anderson Lee recently. “I am so stupid.” Was she referring to: a) her decision to marry rocker Tommy Lee?; b) her failure to retrieve her bank card from an ATM machine?; c) her past preference for heavy blue eye shadow?; or d) her public affection for new beau Marcus Schenkenberg?

The answer is b, according to the young do-gooders who found her bank card. On July 16 Anderson stopped at an ATM in Malibu and mistakenly left her card in the machine. It was found by Kristina Pentek, 18, a student at New Jersey’s Peddie School attending a conference for the charity Operation Smile. Pentek and two pals returned the card to the V.I.P, actress, who thanked them by posing for a group photo.

The Perfect Potter: A Yank?

Perhaps it’s retribution—albeit 62 years late—for casting British actress Vivien Leigh as southern belle Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind. Word quickly spread recently that the British title wizard in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone may be played by—gasp!—an American. The Harry hopeful is said to be Liam Aiken, 10, a U.S.-bred boy with an English mum who appeared in 1998’s Stepmom, directed by Chris Columbus, who’ll also be doing Sorcerer. Though the filmmakers insist that the Potter role has yet to be cast, the movie’s former casting director, Susie Figgis, told Scoop that she left the production earlier this month after learning that an American casting agency would be taking over the search. “I was a bit baffled,” admits Figgis, who says she and her staff sorted through 80,000 letters about would-be Harrys. “My original brief was to find an English boy to play Harry. But at the end of the day it’s all about the director’s vision.”


with Molly Shannon

Apparently there’s no stopping the Saturday Night Live movie spinoff machine, which has churned out everything from The Blues Brothers to The Coneheads to Wayne’s World. So relentless is Hollywood’s appetite for the films that Universal sued Mike Myers for $5 million this month when he tried to abandon Dieter, based on one of his SNL characters. And this fall Tim Meadows will star in the latest SNL offshoot, The Ladies Man. Curious about the show’s never-ending big-screen appeal, Scoop caught up with Molly Shannon, 35, herself a veteran of two SNL films, Superstar and A Night at the Roxbury.

Is there a secret formula for leaping from SNL to the movies?

I don’t know if there’s a secret formula, but I think it helps if you have a character that can sustain a full story. Sometimes certain characters just aren’t great for movies—they might just be better in sketch form. Some characters couldn’t hold a feature-length story long enough.

What makes an SNL blockbuster? What makes a dud?

I don’t know. It’s so important to have a good script. You want to have all the elements in place. But still, it’s a crapshoot.

Are you getting typecast as an SNL comedian?

You know what? I struggled for so long, and I used to wait tables for a lot of years, and I was a hostess in a restaurant, so if I were being typecast, it beats getting up at 7 a.m. and serving people breakfast.

Do you admire any of the other SNL alumni who have made the transition to films?

I’m a big fan of Gilda Radner’s. I think she was amazing, just an incredible talent. She did movies and did Saturday Night Live and always kept writing and being creative until she died. That’s certainly inspiring.

Any rivalry among the current SNL cast for getting movie roles?

No. I really have to say—I know it sounds really corny—but we’re all pretty good buddies. It’s very supportive. We’re a pretty tight bunch.

And Now, Sing Along with Billy Bob

With a name like Billy Bob and a drawl as slow as an armadillo, southern-fried auteur Billy Bob Thornton would seem a natural for Nashville. Indeed, the actor-writer-director—now a budding musician—has been recording his first album there, a mix of covers and original songs he cowrote. The tattooed hubby of Angelina Jolie recently received an unlikely assist from British rocker Peter Frampton, whom he bumped into in a Nashville hotel. Soon after, says Frampton, Thornton called and asked, “Why don’t you come down to the studio with me tonight and sing backup on ‘Hang On Sloopy’?” Thornton rocked on the upbeat arrangement of the 1965 McCoys hit. “It suited his voice perfectly,” says Frampton, who hopes to add a few guitar licks the next time they are both in the studio. Joining Thornton at another session: Matt Damon (directed by Thornton in the upcoming All the Pretty Horses), who watched but kept his voice to himself.

The Face Is Not Familiar

He had a key role in the biggest movie of last summer, Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace. He has a key role in one of this summer’s biggest movies, X-Men. So why is Ray Park, 25, only slightly more recognizable than, say, the guy who voiced C-3PO in all four Star Wars flicks? Blame layers of face paint or, in the case of his Headless Horseman portrayal in last year’s Sleepy Hollow, no face at all. “My longtime aim was to be an action actor,” says the martial-arts-trained Scotsman, known as the long-tongued Toad in X-Men and Darth Maul in Star Wars. The initial anonymity did not bother him. “It was cool. I’m one for not getting too overwhelmed and too excited.”

Mary J. Superhero

“A cross between [70s blaxploitation heroine] Cleopatra Jones and Barbarella” is how veteran comic-book creator Stan Lee sees his newest project, a superheroine modeled on R&B songstress Mary J. Blige, 29. The singer’s alter ego, a self-described Protector of the Hood, will appear this fall on The character, based on an idea of Blige’s, “sends a message that you can be a superhero every day,” she says. Earlier this year Lee arranged a similar union with the Backstreet Boys. Alas, he did not call them the Incredible Hunks.



Foggy days in London have won the heart of Madonna, who recently sold her home in sun-soaked Miami and will now spend her time with director boyfriend Guy Ritchie at her townhouse in the Belgravia section of the British capital. The Florida place, a 1928 Mediterranean-style home overlooking Biscayne Bay, includes eight bedrooms, a gym, an outdoor heated pool and a swing set that the Material Mom installed for daughter Lourdes, 3. The Gunther Corp. paid $7.5 million for the property, which it intends to use as headquarters for a group called the Burgundians.

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