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National Presidential Joke Day - August 11


National Presidential Joke Day is observed annually on August 11.

This day recognizes the humor often found and yet not so appreciated in the highest office in the land. With a nod to the blunders, take a look back at some of our presidents’ social missteps. Many of them awkward. While in the moment, the Commander in Chief might not find them so funny. Looking back, sometimes, they’re downright hilarious mistakes.

  • Everyone loves hot dogs. There’s even a National Hot Dog Day. However, when the President of the United States serves them to the King and Queen of England, things might become awkward. In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt hosted a good old fashioned wiener roast when King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited the U.S. in 1939.
  • In 1968, President Richard Nixon joined the set of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. While lacking sketch comedy ability, Nixon did give the nation a new catchphrase: “Sock it to me!”
  • George H. W. Bush pledged in 1988, “Read my lips: no new taxes.” Two years later, Bush raised taxes.
  • Sometimes the gaffes are vice presidential. At a Trenton, New Jersey spelling bee in 1992, Vice President Dan Quayle misspelled the word potato.

During an election year, the scrutiny of the constituency can be brutal. The presidential candidates should be prepared to handle the presidential joke.  The citizenry will be listening!

HOW TO OBSERVE #PresidentialJokeDay

Share your favorite presidential missteps and jokes. Who recovered the best? Let us know and use #PresidentialJokeDay to share on social media.


National Presidential Joke Day began on August 11, 1984. During a soundcheck for his Saturday evening radio broadcast, President Ronald Reagan joked, “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.” Since 1982, the networks had agreed comments made during sound checks were off the record.  However, someone leaked the recording to the general public. Eventually, CBS broadcast the recording on its Monday evening report. Critics blasted Reagan as being unpresidential, and others considered the joke harmless under most circumstances.

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