âThe United States is truly the only gatekeeper against Communist advancement,â Kennedy said. âThe responsibility is heavy for us.
Television played a huge role in the 1960 election – especially with regard to the first televised presidential debate between Kennedy and Richard Nixon – but Kennedy’s appearance on late-night television started a tradition among presidents .
Nixon plays the piano in “The Jack Paar Program”, 1963
Even after losing to Kennedy in the 1960 race, Nixon continued to tour on late night television. Paar, still a comedian, invited Nixon to perform a song he had written himself, along with “15 Democratic Fiddlers” to accompany Nixon on his “hinky-dinky song”.
Before performing, Nixon jokingly posed the question of whether he would represent himself again.
âRepublicans don’t want another pianist in the White House,â he said, possibly angry with President (and pianist) Harry Truman.
Nixon’s concerto lasted only a few minutes, but won applause from the crowd.
Bill Clinton plays saxophone in “The Arsenio Hall Show”, 1992
Perhaps the most memorable on this list, President Bill Clinton’s appearance on the Arsenio Hall show saw him play the saxophone with Arsenio Hall.
Clinton, then Governor of Arkansas, wore sunglasses as he sang a jazzy rendition of “Heartbreak Hotel” on the saxophone.
While the saxophone performance was the most notable part of the evening, in an interview with Hall, Clinton discussed topics such as his presidential campaign, the Los Angeles uprisings, and the economy. Hillary Clinton also participated in part of the interview.
President George HW Bush challenges Dana Carvey’s impression of Bush on “Saturday Night Live”, 1994
Comedian Dana Carvey impersonated Bush on SNL, with a “church lady’s voice” and hand gestures galore. In 1994, Bush appeared in one of Carvey’s cold openings to comment on his resemblance. The results? Not precise.
âI have to say that doesn’t sound like me,â said Bush. “It doesn’t look like anything. It’s bad. It’s bad.”
Bush, jokingly, called the impression “totally over the top.”
“Those crazy hand gestures, the pointing thing, I don’t do them.” Bush said, while gesturing with his hands and pointing.
Carvey called his imitation a “fair impression.”
President George W. Bush reads Top 10 on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” 2000
In 2000, George W. Bush appeared as a guest on The Late Show with David Letterman. During the show, he appeared on Letterman Top 10, one of the show’s most iconic lore.
Bush read aloud his list, titled “Top 10 Changes I’ll Make in the White House,” Some of Bush’s Most Memorable Jokes Included Not Speaking at Cabinet Meetings “until you walked up the stairs. mechanical bull, âputting his mother’s face on Mount Rushmore, and issuing an executive orderâ ordering my brother Jeb to wash my car â.
Fallon ruffles Trump’s hair in “Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”, 2016
During his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump allowed Fallon to tousle his hair, creating a look that an observer might describe as “windswept.”
Trump, who was heading to a campaign rally in New Hampshire after his appearance on the show, addressed the rally attendees before his hairstyle was “done.”
âI hope they will understand,â Trump said.
Fallon received a lot of criticism for his hair battle, saying in 2018 that he regretted the move and had no intention of “normalizing” Trump. The former president tweeted a response that ended with: “Be a man Jimmy!”
Obama Slows Down News From “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” 2016
Obama appeared on Fallon’s Tonight Show in 2016 to Slow News, a popular segment for the program. While Obama played this segment in 2012 with Fallon and his band, The Roots, his last time summed up his presidency and even included a few taunts at his Republican opponents.
Accompanied by Fallon himself and The Roots, Obama touted his presidency’s accomplishments such as job growth, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Affordable Care Act.
âIn short, climate change is real, health care is affordable and love is love,â the former president said.
Fallon replied, “Commander in PREACH!”
When Fallon asked if the president watched election coverage, Obama looked at the then-candidate Trump: âI watched my favorite show: Orange is not the new black.
Monica Akhtar contributed to this report.