Speed Reads

that's so bernie

Bernie Sanders had his own cable access show in the 1980s — and it's totally mesmerizing

So here's something that won't come as a total surprise: Sen. Bernie Sanders had his own cable access show when he was mayor of Burlington, Vermont in the 1980s. The good news is that some clips of it still exist, as Mother Jones recently rediscovered.

The show, fittingly titled Bernie Speaks with the Community, is extremely bare bones. The credits are handwritten, and for one painful episode, Sanders' son Levi is required to hold the microphone for his dad as he talks. But the awkwardness is part of what makes the show so magnetic. Though a lot of Bernie Speaks is bizarre footage of Sanders wandering around Burlington in dutiful search of people to converse with, one of the best parts is how everyone looks utterly reluctant to be involved, Sanders included.

Take, for example, "Bernie on Ice," which is half an hour of Sanders awkwardly ambushing people at a frozen lake to ask about how they like the waterfront and to push a bond issue that would be featured on the upcoming ballot. "Please don't interview me," one woman moans when she sees Sanders coming. She later tries to coax her daughter onto camera — "Sarah, come here a sec, I want to introduce you to Bernie" — only to have the child howl "noooo" and run off screen.

Later, talking with several small children who are ice skating, Sanders asks a girl if she's fallen.

"A little bit," she says.

"I see you've got a bloody lip. That's okay," Sanders replies casually. The girl skates off — and falls again.

Sanders also tries his hand at hockey while not wearing skates, which mostly consists of him standing in the middle of a game and kicking clumsily at a puck.

Check out Mother Jones for all the episodes, including "Bernie Finds a Giant Fish," "Bernie Discusses $3 Wines," and Bernie Ruins His Son's Winter Vacation."