Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


When Lizz met Michele: The Winstead-Bachmann show at the fair

The comedienne-slash-political heretic met the congresswoman for the first time at the State Fair.

Winstead on meeting Bachmann at the Minnesota State Fair: "When someone is in that hyper, almost wedding-reception-line mode, I'm not going to be the turd in the punch bowl that you can then turn it on me for confronting Michele Bachmann."
Courtesy of Lizz Winstead

Breaking news: Truce declared in culture wars as infamous comedienne-slash-political heretic Lizz Winstead meets arch-nemesis Michele Bachmann at the Minnesota State Fair,  and civil (non-) discourse erupts.

It’s true. Winstead, who has gone on record numerous times to challenge Bachmann (including Bachmann’s performance at the 2011 Republican presidential debate; a memorable skewering on “The Ed Show;”  and a biographical primer cooked up by Winstead and her Shoot The Messenger crew for the 2008 election) met the U.S. congresswoman in the flesh for the first time Saturday afternoon at the fair.

“I’m walking around the fair with friends by the area where all the radio stations are, and I see Michele Bachmann in that conservative gazebo they broadcast from,” said Winstead, whose other fair stops included lending support to the Vote No booth and taking in the Minnesota music gig at the grandstand.

“I walked up at the tail end of the interview [on the Fox News radio station, formerly KFAN]. I’d never seen her in person. I was stunned. She’s a tiny woman, and she has big giant eyelashes like a deer and big giant eyes. She starts coming to the front of the booth and is talking to people, ‘Hi, how are you? Hi, how are you?’ and having pictures taken.

Article continues after advertisement

“She’s a firebrand, so I assume she’d have security, but she had no handlers or campaign person or staffers. I was holding up my camera to take a picture and she said, ‘Come and be in the picture with me! Want to be in the picture with me?’ I was like, ‘Uh, OK.’”

As her friend Cindy Blum popped off three historic photos of the politician and one of her most vocal opponents, Winstead held her tongue.

“I was sort of gobsmacked by the whole thing, because there was no time to say anything, and she was surrounded by like-minded people, and it would’ve been too weird to confront her,” said Winstead. “When someone is in that hyper, almost wedding-reception-line mode, I’m not going to be the turd in the punch bowl that you can then turn it on me for confronting Michele Bachmann.

“It felt very celebrity and very empty. No connection. It felt very insincere, like it didn’t matter at all to her. But the picture itself is really funny. My ear is sort of next to her mouth, and I want to do one of those meme captions: ‘Michele Bachmann. You can hear the ocean.’”

That’s a joke, but Bachmann’s six-year run in the 6th District isn’t funny to Winstead, who has been lampooning the Tea Party queen since Bachmann was caught spying on the enemy from behind a hedge at a gay rights rally in 2005.

“We have to stop calling people like this ‘crazy,’ because ‘crazy’ is normal,” she said. “We have to start saying, ‘Third-term congressperson Michele Bachmann. Six-term congressman Todd Akin. Everyone you think is a dangerous nutbag, you should say how many times they’ve been elected and what their job is, so we remember that they’re being legitimized every time they’re elected.”

For a dose of levity, Winstead returned to the fair Sunday, where she visited the booth of Jim Graves, Bachmann’s main opponent in the 6th District.

“He told me that he and Michele Bachmann are neck-and-neck in the polls, and he’s fundraising up a storm. He said it’s real; it’s on.”