Sharing Steve :: New Stuff
Monday, August 20, 2007

Bob Kerry is not a Reverend

Omaha World-Herald (Nebraska)
August 1, 2007 Wednesday
Wedding wasn't wild and crazy, and don't call Kerrey 'Rev. Bob'
NEWS; Robert Nelson; Pg. 01B

I've always been proud that my first journalism interview back in the late 1980s was with Bob Kerrey. I was a new journalism school student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the former Nebraska governor was entertaining the idea of running for U.S. Senate and, amazingly, he granted me an interview.

On Tuesday, I interviewed him again. You may have read that Kerrey, who represented Nebraska in the Senate for two terms, presided this weekend at the wedding of actor-comedian Steve Martin, 61, and writer Anne Stringfield, 35.

Lorne Michaels, executive producer of "Saturday Night Live," was the best man. Tom Hanks, Diane Keaton and Carl Reiner were among the screen legends on hand.

I mean, how cool are you when Steve Martin asks you to perform his marriage ceremony?

So I called Kerrey in New York, where he now serves as president of the New School.

I first asked him why his friends are cooler than my friends.

"Because they're my wife's friends," he said.

His wife of six years, Sarah Paley, was a writer for "Saturday Night Live." Her old friends, like Martin, became the couple's new friends and, as one thing led to another, Martin, Stringfield and Paley came up with the idea for Kerrey to perform the ceremony.

"When it was first mentioned, I figured I had to go online to one of those Web sites and get ordained to be Reverend Bob," Kerrey said. "But in California, as long as you have a properly executed marriage license, somebody who isn't a minister can perform the civil ceremony."

So no, he's not Reverend Bob.

(A side note: After we talked, I filled in an online form and, in two minutes, I became Reverend Bob of the Universal Life Church).

Kerrey said Martin's wedding was "a dignified ceremony" -- no pretend arrows through the head -- because "Steve wanted it to be serious," he said. "They're just very much in love and they wanted a nice ceremony. I guess they picked me because they wanted somebody they considered serious."

As he was preparing for his first stint tying knots, Kerrey said, he received a request to officiate at a wedding of his longtime friend and legitimate pastor, the Rev. Darrel Berg.

Berg, a former Nebraskan who now lives in Washington state, presided at both of Kerrey's weddings and at the baptisms of his three children.

Berg, 86, is getting remarried in October after a divorce.

(For his part, Berg said he picked his nonpastor friend to perform the ceremony to avoid having to choose among his many friends in the clergy.)

"This will be a sweeter ceremony, I think," Kerrey said. "You can feel like life has come to an end when you lose somebody at his age. This is just a wonderful thing."

Kerrey said he doesn't plan to preside over any more weddings, but he also said he wouldn't completely rule out doing it again.

Boy, if that doesn't sound familiar.

Which, of course, segued to the big question, the same question I asked him back in the '80s:

"So, are you going to run for Senate?"

"I'm not really thinking about that right now," Kerrey said of a potential run for Sen. Chuck Hagel's seat, which he has said he would consider if Hagel decides not to seek re-election. "But I haven't said no."


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