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SAG-AFTRA Candidate Matthew Modine Mixes Comedy and Politics During Fundraiser

Comedy and industry politics mixed Tuesday night at The Hollywood Improv, site of a fundraiser for SAG-AFTRA candidate Matthew Modine and his Membership First slate.

“He looks like Hal Holbrook,” Tom Arnold joked. “He’s aged 100 years.”

Modine is challenging incumbent SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris and three other candidates for the top elected post at the 160,000-member performers union. With two more weeks of campaigning before voting concludes on Aug. 28, the funds raised are earmarked for mailings to members.

Modine noted he’s been so busy that he’s lacked the time to see a dentist about a missing tooth. “Running for office isn’t what I expected,” he said before taking the stage.

Lisa Ann Walter hosted with comedy provided by Arnold, Rick Overton, Cathy Ladman, Julie Goldman, Vinny Fasline, Candice Thompson, and Steve Byrne.

Overton, who’s also running for a convention delegate spot, offered, “I’m candidate number 414. That’s the area code where all the work has gone.”

Ladman observed that she’s 63 and raising a 16-year-old. “I’m in the PTAARP,” she joked. “My daughter is at the top of her class in eye-rolling.”

Byrne mentioned that President Donald Trump reminded him of an impatient waiter at the Cheesecake Factory: “Russian dressing? Never heard of it.”

Arnold recounted that he had been raised in a union household in which he and his father worked at a meatpacking plant, which taught him the importance of unions.

“You’ve got to stand up for yourself,” he said. “They want to pick us apart.”

Modine concluded the event with a four-minute address that noted the Membership First motto of “Artists United” was a tribute to the original United Artists studio formed in 1920 by Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford. That helped lead to the formation of the original Screen Actors Guild in 1933.

“We stand on their shoulders,” he said. “I’ve been blessed to have an amazing career. It’s time for me to give back to the next generation”

He warned that the road will be rocky for performers to take on corporations, adding, “We’re fighting samurai swords with butter knives. I love a good David and Goliath story.”

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