After checking out the list of 12 Presidents Who Allegedly Smoked Weed and laughing at these 15 Yearbook Photos of Politicians, I decided it was time to take a look at how funny presidents can be when they actually try. It turns out, some of them can be pretty damn funny. Here’s a look at 10 Funny Jokes Told By Presidents.
10. George Bush Clowns Around With His Clone
George Bush had plenty of shortcomings as a President, but as a comedian he definitely had some skills. One of his funniest moments happened at the White House Correspondents Association dinner when he got a little help from his clone in delivering what has to be one of the funniest performances every put on by any leader of the free world.
9. Bill Clinton Says Goodbye To The Press
In Bill Clinton’s farewell speech to the White House press corps, he joked about conspiracy theories, showed off his vision for his face on Mt. Rushmore, and pointed out to the press that “in just 8 years, I’ve probably given you enough material for 20 years.” He even calls out Jay Leno, who happens to be in attendance.
8. Jimmy Carter Kills In Japan
At the 25th anniversary of the Camp David Accords, Jimmy Carter told the following story about the best joke he ever told (via Carter Center):
“While I was in Japan, I remembered going through China and Japan in 1981, soon after I left the White House. At that time I was asked to make a speech at a small college near Osaka. When I got to this little college, everybody was so nervous, it made me nervous. So, I got up to make a speech, and I thought I would put the Japanese at ease-the students and professors and their parents-by telling a joke. It takes so long to translate English into Japanese that I didn’t choose my funniest joke–I just chose my shortest joke. So I told my joke, and then the interpreter gave it and the audience collapsed in laughter. It was the best response I have ever had to a joke in my life.
I couldn’t wait for the speech to be over to get to the green room and ask the interpreter, ‘How did you tell my joke?’ He was very evasive. But I persisted, and finally he ducked his head and said, “I told the audience, ‘President Carter told a funny story. Everyone must laugh.’ ” So there are some advantages in having been president.”
7. The Wit Of Ronald Reagan
As a former actor, Reagan clearly knew how to deliver a punchline. So much so that people actually put together montage videos about his sense of humor.
6. Barack Obama Roasts Michael Steele And Dick Cheney
This Obama performance begins with the line, “Michael Steele is in the house tonight. Or as he would say, ‘In the hee-zy.’” Can’t say I ever thought I’d hear a President say that word.
5. Gerald Ford Gets Payback On Chevy Chase
Chevy Chase became famous for his impersonation of Gerald Ford’s bumbling ways on Saturday Night Live, but when Ford had the opportunity to get a little payback at the Correspondents Dinner in 1975, he jumped at the chance. As the Seattle Times explained:
When emcee Bob Hope introduced him, President Ford got up from the table, “accidentally” caught the tablecloth in his trousers and dumped silverware in Chase’s lap. As he approached the podium, he pretended to trip, prompting the pages of the speech he was carrying to fly into the audience.
When he got to the microphone and the laughter began to diminish, President Ford reached into his coat pocket, pulled out the real script and said, “Good evening. I’m Gerald Ford and you’re not.”
4. George Bush’s Joke And Wink
Not every presidential joke is a good one, but that didn’t stop George Bush from getting laughs. As David Letterman points out in this clip, even bad jokes were turned into funny moments when Bush would tag his would-be punchlines with a “creepy wink.”
3. Abraham Lincoln Makes Fun Of Himself
Recent presidents aren’t the only ones to crack jokes. One of Abraham Lincoln’s most famous quotes is actually a joke about himself. It’s almost as if he was the Richard Lewis of his time…or something. Here’s Lincoln’s best one-liner:
“If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?”
2. Barack Obama Roasts Rahm Emanuel
Obama may have had some good lines about his Republican rivals, but he really let loose on on his right-hand man Rahm Emanuel. I guess it’s true what they say, you really do roast the ones you love.
1. Boris Yeltsin Cracks Up Bill Clinton
Clinton’s not technically telling the joke in this one, but his over-the-top reaction to Yeltsin’s drunken comment that the press is a disaster is what really gets the laugh. There’s also a great back story to this one which you can read about here.
This post was written by Josh Spector, who is ready to campaign for Chris Rock for president in 2012.