Presidential Joke Day
annually on August 11th
With such responsibility on their shoulders, American presidents have long used a bit of humor to bring a little lightness to the job. Sometimes they have been self-deprecating, while other times they have gently ribbed opponents and friends. They have sometimes even inadvertently said or done things that seemed funny. For example, on August 11, 1984, Ronald Reagan was doing a soundcheck for National Public Radio, in preparation for his weekly radio address. Without knowing that his microphone was on and recording, he parodied the opening remarks of his prepared speech by saying, "My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes." The audio did not go out live but was later leaked. This was during the time of the Cold War, and not everyone thought the joke was funny. It was even reported that the Soviet Union went on alert after hearing Reagan's words. Nonetheless, the phrase is now looked back on as a comedic gaffe, and the date it occurred on is now celebrated as Presidential Joke Day.
How to Observe
Celebrate the day by reading presidential jokes! You could start by reading "Presidential Wit and Wisdom" and "The single best joke told by every president, from Obama to Washington," and then pick up a book about presidential humor. You could also watch clips from past White House Correspondents' Dinners. Once you have read and watched a bunch of presidential jokes, share your favorites with others!