Larsen takes 6 months off from comedy, nearly wins standup contest

Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) writes jokes as a hobby, but he took a break from it as he sweated out his reelection bid.

Larsen ended up winning on Nov. 2, and perhaps more surprisingly, nearly won the Funniest Celebrity in Washington contest, which took place Thursday at the D.C. Improv.

Larsen came in second place behind Obama administration speechwriter Jon Lovett — even though he was out of practice. The stress of the race made it impossible for Larsen to write jokes, he explained. Larsen attracted 51 percent of the vote to win a sixth term.

“I’m coming out of a six-month dry spell,” Larsen said.

Larsen has been writing jokes since college, but now that he’s in public life, the 45-year-old lawmaker said his wife serves as an informal editor of his comedy act.

“About 50 percent of the jokes I wrote actually made it into the show,” Larsen said. “[Sometimes] my wife tells me, ‘You can’t say that!’ ”

What Larsen apparently can say, however, was pretty funny, most notably a joke about what a tough job it is to be the No. 3 guy at al Qaeda.

“We have killed that guy like seven times,” Larsen joked. “Whenever we need a good morale boost, nothing does it like killing the third in command at al Qaeda.”

Larsen can get serious quickly, as he made it a point to remind ITK that his primary job is “representing the people of my district.”

Still, “everyone needs a hobby,” he said. “Some people read, some people play golf, and I write jokes.”