Oh Yes, the Dignity of the Office

After President Obama’s appearance on Between Two Ferns (which was, frankly, overhyped; it just wasn’t that funny, though it had its moments), the press predictably wrung their hands in deep concern about the dignity of the office. Rachel Maddow points out a whole bunch of instances of other presidents going on comedy shows. We should be far more offended by Reagan trading dumb jokes with the terminally unfunny Bob Hope.

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  • John Pieret

    Yeah, but did any of those other presidents appear in blackface?

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Sock it to me.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    First of all, this is the first time the office has been demeaned in this way. Never before has this happened. Second, those other times those other presidents did the same thing they weren’t Obama.

  • http://www.thelosersleague.com theschwa

    Yes, But Ike, Reagan and Nixon had the decency to not appear on the INTERNETS!!!!1111

  • neil

    Wait. There are Americans who don’t think Bob Hope was funny? Those of us outside the US could never understand his popularity, but assumed that it was a local thing that made sense if you grew up there.

  • busterggi

    Bob Hope was funny at a certain time during certain conditions but his schtick got old and he never had the sense to update it. He was no Jack Benny or George Burns for sure.

  • pocketnerd

    I’d be more worried about a president being *unfunny* than appearing on any sort of comedy show.

  • rabbitscribe

    Possibly apocryphal exchange between Bob Hope and a hospice caregiver:

    “I’m afraid it won’t be long now, sir. Have you given any thought to where you’d like to be buried?”

    “Eh… I don’t know- surprise me!”

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    Clinton’s appearance on Arsenio Hall was huge for him, in terms of his popularity. Playing the saxaphone was definitely below the dignity of a president.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    Dick Gregory once defined Bob Hope as “America’s funniest fascist.” With that kind of endorsement, who cares what a guy who had to explain his jokes to small groups of dazed illiterates thinks?

    Marcus Ranum @ # 9: Playing the saxaphone was definitely below the dignity of a president.

    Honking the same note over and over while the band carried the melody is below the dignity of any actual saxophonist.

  • Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    I’m interested in the fact that David Gergen seems to think the office of the Presidency has “majesty”. I think George Washington might have a word or to for him on that score.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    How about Dubya falling off a Segway? That was high comedy.

  • freehand

    Didn’t Clinton also discuss his underwear on Arsenio? I thought that was a bit over the top. Something something “airing dirty linen”.

  • lofgren

    I feel like one thing you really don’t want in a leader is an inability to laugh at themself.

  • zbeeblebrox

    Why did the Right’s panties remain untwisted when Joe Wilson shouted “you lie!” at Obama’s State of the Union address? By any measure, that showed a huge disrespect for the dignity of the office.

  • aluchko

    It wasn’t particularly funny but I’ll give Obama a lot of props since it was improvised. The regular guests are actors and comedians, the fact that Obama found any humour at all is astounding.

  • tuibguy

    They were mostly upset because Obama didn’t use a teleprompter and he wasn’t wearing “mom jeans.”

    Whether the jokes were funny or not is a matter of opinion. I was impressed that Obama knew enough about the show to nail the “deadpan awkwardness” without cracking up.