Jeff Bridges took Montana’s 2016 gubernatorial race to a rather strange, funky place last night. The famed actor and musician played to the sold-out Wilma, a fundraiser for Gov. Steve Bullock’s reelection campaign that leaned far more heavily on Bridges’ country-rock stylings
than the Democratic incumbent’s political stumping. But it wasn’t just the Bob Dylan cover or frequent Big Lebowski references that had locals literally screaming, “We love you, Jeff!” No, it was the fact that even when talking up a candidate for office, Bridges continues to be entirely, unequivocally, 100-percent The Dude.
“As Steve was saying, man, I’m so connected with this place, ya know?” Bridges said after the governor’s introduction. “Met my sweetheart, as the governor was saying. She’s out here in the audience tonight ... I’m such a lucky guy.”
Bridges shared the stage with singer/songwriter Chris Pelonis, and the two proved an unstoppably entertaining force throughout a set that included quite a few hits from Bridges’ film Crazy Heart
, which won him his first Oscar for best actor in 2009.
When it came time to stop the strumming and focus on the politics at hand, Bridges donned his reading glasses and began to rattle off a printed list of Bullock’s accomplishments. He briefly lost his place somewhere between the effort to end child hunger—an issue Bridges, as the national spokesman for the No Kid Hungry Campaign, is particularly sensitive to—and Bullock’s success in shepherding the Disclose Act through the Montana Legislature. However, he rebounded a song or two later with a nod to the circus that is the Republican presidential race.
“I think it’s important to note,” The Dude said, grinning widely, “that our governor, Steve, has huge hands.”
The crack had the Wilma audience cheering almost as loudly as when Bridges’ did his end-of-set cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Lookin’ Out My Back Door.”