By Gary P Jackson
As I was writing commentary for my Mourning vs Morning in American piece, I found myself quite nostalgic for Ronald Reagan. I was just leaving my teenage years as Reagan came into office. I was already in the workforce, but things were lean. As Reagan sorted the mess Carter left us out, everything began looking up.
On of the reasons Americas felt so good was Reagan himself. This was a good and decent many who truly loved his country, and believed in the spirit of the American people. He was also a happy guy. Someone who was always smiling, always optimistic.
Reagan had a marvelous sense of humor, and that, combined with his decades of honing his acting skills, made him an effective communicator and a wonderful story teller. It’s why he was called “The Great Communicator.”
The video above is a compilation from Reagan’s years in the White House. Funny stories, jokes, and sharp wit. It’s guaranteed to make you smile.
The next video is from one of the Dean Martin Roasts. Younger folks only know the roasts on Comedy Central. While funny, they are kinda lame compared to some of the craziness that went on back in the day. The Dean Martin Roasts were on broadcast TV, of course. This was before cable.
While more formal in appearance, they were side splittingly funny and some of the best comedians of the day would roast the “victim” of the week, as well as each other, with Dean Martin serving as the Master of Ceremonies.
In this clip, Don Rickles is absolutely wearing Reagan out. At the time Reagan was Governor of California and it was well known he had his eye on the White House. Thus the hilarious bit about Reagan and Nixon.
*Note, the original video was pulled, so here is longer video of the Dean Martin Roast of Ronald Reagan:
This next video needs little set up. This is Reagan himself, gently roasting George Burns, one of the real comedy greats.
Our last video is absolutely delightful. This is from the Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour. For those who are too young to remember, their shtick was Cher was constantly annoyed with Sonny, who was always the straight man, and often the punch line.
This is cool because during the skit Sonny gives Reagan an award, and his “reaction” to this little jewel is priceless. Of course it’s all part of the act. I just threw this one in because it’s fun.
Ronald Reagan was a great man and one of our greatest Presidents, but his ability to make us laugh, and make us feel good, about America, and ourselves, should never be forgotten.