Some politicians become lobbyists when their careers flame out. Others take up golf.
Former Lt. Gov. Mike Stack III moved to California to try his hand at stand-up comedy and screenwriting.
As humor goes, let’s just say Stack is rough around the edges.
Start with the language. Stack — now calling himself Mikey Stacks on stage — uses a certain F-bomb the way most writers use commas. Then there is the look. Gone are Stack’s signature skinny suits and military-grade buzz cut. His dark hair, now longish, is dyed blond and he is rocking the aging-surfer look — T-shirt, jeans, and sandals.
And the punchlines? One bit has a long windup with Stack taking aim at teenagers who bury their faces in electronic devices and then complain about feeling “disconnected and lonely and isolated” and suicidal.
“[F-bomb] you, kid!” Stack erupts. “Put the [f-bomb] phone down. [F-bomb] talk about it.”
That leads to some fairly unconventional advice.
“Get on the opioids. Get off the iPhone,” Stack says. “Rather put you in [f-bomb] rehab than in the [f-bomb] ground!”
Croonquist said Stack — who didn’t respond to Clout’s hails — never told her he was a former lieutenant governor. Her classes have included a billionaire and a man released after 23 years in prison.
“This place pumps out some strange people,” said Croonquist, who found Stack very funny. “He makes you think. You look at him and you think, ‘Oh, God, a dumb blond.’ When he leaves the stage, he leaves you thinking.”
Former State Sen. Vince Fumo, who got Stack elected to the Senate 20 years ago, said his onetime protégé calls him from California for advice on a screenplay he is writing. Fumo’s one beef: Stack keeps asking about moves Fumo made but then writes them up as ideas conceived by a character based on Stack.
Fumo doesn’t think Stack is cut out for comedy and should stick to acting. Stack’s father, the late ward leader Mike Stack Jr., once wrote a screenplay, Fumo said.
“There’s a family tradition in doing that sort of stuff,” he said.
For all his time in politics — as a ward leader, member of the state Senate, and one-term lieutenant governor ousted by John Fetterman in the 2018 Democratic primary — Stack doesn’t work that into his act. His two political jokes are about taking away allowances for millennials so they stop contributing to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential bid and the danger he sees President Donald Trump flirting with on the world stage.
“What James Bond super-villain is this guy going to [f-bomb] meet with today?” Stack asks.
Last week’s Northeast Philly ward-leader-memorial-service-turned-snap-election has — as Clout predicted — prompted a tussle for the Democratic City Committee.
Janice Tangradi, a committee member in Ward 66B challenging the election, wanted to run for the post, which had been vacant since longtime ward leader Michael “Mac” McAleer died last month.
John Del Ricci, the ward chairman who called for the memorial service where he was suddenly elected as the new leader, insists he followed the Democratic Party bylaws.
Tangradi, in her challenge, claims Del Ricci “abused his powers" by sending a notice about the memorial service that did not announce an election, wasn’t received by all committee people, did not provide the required 72 hours’ notice, was not held in the correct location, and lacked a quorum.
Del Ricci, Tangradi claims, “also brought disrepute to the Democratic Party.”
Del Ricci told Clout last week that the vote was 18-0 and that he appointed five new committee members at the meeting. He said that really made the vote 23-0. The ward has 40 committee posts, two to a division.
T. Milton Street Sr., long one of Clout’s favorite characters in Philly politics, is going through a rough patch. Street announced last year that he would run as an independent for mayor but never filed nominating petitions in August to get on the ballot.
The onetime state representative and senator who served 26 months in federal prison for unpaid taxes and then ran for mayor in 2011 while on probation tells Clout this week doctors discovered a mass on his prostate as he was gearing up for his next campaign last summer. He has stage-4 prostate cancer, which has spread to the bones in his back and hip.
“So there’s no cure. But they tell you they can possibly maintain it,” said Street, who was in good spirits despite radiation and hormone therapies that sap his strength.
Street, who is 80, plans to stay involved in politics “in a peripheral way,” but his days of running for office are over.