Ladies and gentlemen! In the right corner stands the Classroom Protector. The man, the myth, the legend who rose to the Senate on a sea of defeated (and inane) legislation. You may recognize him from his appearance on TMZ …give it up for the debatable Sen. Stacey Campfield.

And in the left corner standing at 5 foot 11 inches, he calls himself the “loudmouth comedian”. The man, the jokester, the guy whose voice you may remember from 94.3 The X. J. LaLonde!

Okay, it is probably not going to go down like that but comedian and radio host J. LaLonde will challenge Sen. Stacey Campfield to a charity debate April 20 at the Square Room in Knoxville, Tenn.. There may not be any boxing gloves but there will definitely be plenty of entertainment when J. LaLonde takes Campfield to task on his legislative history.

O&AN chatted with LaLonde before the debates where he shared his reasons for wanting to debate Campfield and why he believes “there’s a demand for equality in Tennessee.”

So let me get this right you are from (or live) in NYC and you are coming to Tennessee just to debate Senator Stacey Campfield?

I live in NYC. I used to have a radio show in Tennessee. I still tour through there because I have a strong following there. This time I'll tour through and debate Senator Campfield.


Wrong question. The real question is why hasn't anyone debated Senator Campfield like this yet? Why does a loudmouth comedian have to do it? This man continues to use his time as an elected official to introduce regressive legislation. For example, the Classroom Protection Act or “Don't Say Gay” bill—what a silly and embarrassing idea for Tennessee.

Speaking of Campfield’s most notorious legislation the Classroom Protection Act (AKA Don’t Say Gay” bill—can your preview your thoughts on that legislation?

What is he attempting to protect here? I think he thinks teachers in TN have a secret gay syllabus they pull out on the first day of school. Professor Freddy Mercury introduces this syllabus right after he replaces the Pledge of Allegiance with “Seasons of Love”. This bill is filled with so much flawed logic, I'm not sure you have the room for me to explain.

You funded the campaign for charity in less than a day—what do you think that says about the public’s attitude towards the policies set forth by Campfield?

I think by funding it so fast, it says there's a demand for equality in Tennessee. I think what will be better than funding it so fast will be people actually showing up. I want the venue to be packed. I want people to bring someone of different color, religion and orientation. I want to see a rainbow from the stage. That to me will be far more impressive. I had an entire social media plan to put in action, but people beat me to it. People are passionate about this and that makes me want to put on a hell of a show for them.

Were you surprised that Campfield accepted your offer?

I think he was more shocked I followed through to get a venue, raise the money and set everything up, more than I was surprised he accepted. I think he loves the attention.

What is your strategy in this debate?

My strategy in order: be authentic, be charming, be cordial, be empathetic, be funny, hug my enemy. Smile, this has never been done like this.

If you had to sum up Campfield in a tweet (140 characters or less) what would it be?

A polite and complicated man burdened by primitive values.

Anything else you would like to share?

Yes, just because I disagree with Campfield, doesn't mean I hate him. Tolerance works both ways. If both sides were more empathetic, we'd get so much more shit done in the world.

The debate will take place April 20 at 3 p.m. in the Square Room in Knoxville, located in the historic City Market Square district. To stay up-to-date with debate information check out J. LaLonde on his Word Thug website or follow him on Twitter @jlalondecomedy.

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