All the Presidents' Wits: The Power of Presidential Humor

Gerald Gardner, Author Beech Tree Paperback Book $15.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-688-05940-8
Gardner, a comedy writer for TV performers (the Smothers Brothers) and politicians (Robert Kennedy), offers a serious, entertaining look at humor's role in the presidency since John F. Kennedy. With charm and wit now seen as crucial to winning elections, these presidents have used one-liners and anecdotes in speech-making, with varying success, Gardner maintains. The most adeptJFK and Ronald Reaganhave laughed away serious issues, offering quips instead of a ""no comment'' to sensitive questions. The author shows how each president's brand of humor (Gerald Ford's good-naturedness, LBJ's crudity) reflected his personality and character, with Jimmy Carter ``suspicious'' of wit and Richard Nixon simply incapable of it. Besides many examples of presidential witticisms, the book includes interesting observations by Bob Orben, Landon Parvin and other White House gag writers. Photos not seen by PW. (September 29)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1986
Release date: 09/01/1986
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