Another kind of comic relief

This combination of two file photos shows, at left, presidential frontrunner candidate Jimmy Morales, of the National Front of Convergence party, at a Sept. 7, 2015 press conference in Guatemala City, and Sandra Torres, National Unity of Hope presidential candidate, at an Aug. 29, 2015 campaign rally in Escuintla, Guatemala. (AP Photo/Luis Soto, File)

Politicians and show business have a lot in common. Still, when a comedian finishes first in a presidential election, it’s not necessarily a laughing matter.

Sure, Charleston’s Stephen Colbert, now the star of CBS’ “Late Show,” did amuse many Americans by flirting with presidential bids in 2008 and 2012. But most viewers of his “Colbert Report” understood that he was kidding.

Conversely, another TV star, comic Jimmy Morales, is quite serious about winning the presidency of Guatemala.

And though he garnered less than 24 percent of the vote in the Sept. 6 election, that was enough to lead a crowded field and put him in an Oct. 25 runoff.

The job came open suddenly after a series of large protests helped force the Sept. 2 resignation of President Perez Molina, who lost not just his high office but his freedom by being taken into custody on large-scale corruption charges.

Mr. Morales, whose campaign slogan is “Not corrupt, not a thief,” has no political experience — evidently a plus with the electorate in many nations these days.

He even took his campaign way up north last weekend to Rhode Island, which has a large population of immigrants from Guatemala. Mr. Morales told a crowd of them to tell their relatives back in the home country to vote for him.

He also told The Providence Journal: “The people who are most affected by the bad policies in Guatemala are migrants living here in the United States. They’re living hand to mouth, and if things don’t change in Guatemala we won’t be able to solve the problems of immigration, and we aren’t going to be able to answer the dreams of the people who have hopes of coming here to the United States. We are not going to forget migrants as prior administrations have.”

And that’s no joke.