The Most Interesting Man in the World (or At Least Harrisburg)

Daylin Leach inspires memes, loves Hooters, may own pet lion.

With Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz running for governor, a power vacuum has opened up in the 13th District. Bob Brady’s picked his guy. The seat’s former occupant, and current Chelsea Clinton mother-in-law, is mulling. But the most interesting candidate—nay, the most interesting man in all Harrisburg—is Daylin Leach, “Liberal Lion” of the State Senate.

Here’s a list that proves it.

  • The pro-Leach testimonials in this introductory campaign video come from his wife and two kids, who vouch for their dad’s reading proficiency. The video also features two clips of a roaring lion.

  • His takedown of Pennsylvania’s voter ID law—“If you have to stop people from voting to win elections, your ideas suck“—briefly became its own meme, and was the most popular post on Reddit’s politics page for a day. “Then we were replaced a day or so later by a photograph of some baby who looks like he was drunk,” Leach told me.
  • After his introduction to Reddit, Leach decided to conduct an “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) on the social media site in January. Here are the greatest hits:

Q: Why is it illegal to sing in the bathtub in Pennsylvania, and what do you plan on doing about it?
A: I lodge my own daily protest to this fascist policy by engaging in civil disobedience in my own bath tub. Specifically, each morning I sing “The End” by The Doors until my wife threatens to get a restraining order.

Q: Would you rather fight 100 duck sized horses or one horse sized duck?
A: I’d rather fight one duck-sized duck, with a neuro-muscular condition.

Q: What is [Republican State Rep.] Daryl Metcalf [sic] like? He seems like a real asshole.
A: I believe in the possibility of redemption for every human being. Well, obviously not Daryl. I’m not crazy. But almost every human being.

  • He performed stand-up comedy in the late ‘80s, moved on to a sketch comedy troupe called Rumpel and Stiltskin, got bored, then did improv every Friday night at the Adrienne Theater on Sansom Street from 1995-1998.
  • He once defended an eighth-grader’s first amendment rights in federal court, after the kid was suspended from school for writing a story about a planet called “Poland Jewpiter” in which the air smelled like sausages, people wore “funny hats,” and everybody danced to “barmitsfa” music. (Leach, despite the uber-Irish name, practices reform Judaism.)
  • For several years in the mid-aughts, then-State Rep. Leach penned hundreds of satirical columns under the pen-name Dutch Laroo, which he emailed all over Harrisburg, and chronicled on a website called Leachvent.com. A typical yuk: “Sunday was my daughter’s second birthday party. She’s three. I really need to catch up on things. I learned several things at the party. First, Alan Greenspan impersonators, while inexpensive, are not a big hit with the kids … ” Etc. He also did racier material. Here, he jokes about goose-stepping Germans, a stripper named Clitoris, and Palestinians who celebrate bachelor parties by strapping “several pounds of dynamite to [the groom’s] chest and having him blow up a school bus.”
  • In 2005, after he mocked an Inquirer reporter in one particularly mordant column, said Inquirer scribe exposed” Leachvent.com on the front page of the paper, and Leach took down the site, a decision he told me he now regrets. A selection of his pieces have been preserved on a separate website. A tamer reprisal–Daylinsights.com–has also surfaced, with familiar irreverence and misspellings, but fewer dick jokes.
  • He regularly introduces progressive legislation that he knows won’t pass. For example: legalization of same-sex marriage, legalization of recreational pot, and mandatory labeling of genetically modified food, which he worries will mess with his “testes.”
  • He’s emceeing “Hooters Appreciation Day” in the State Capitol on April 30th. The band, not the restaurant. But still.