The Library of Congress has released his 85,000-page trove ribbing presidents and politicians.
The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., has opened up comedian Bob Hope’s joke file to public view for the first time.
In an exhibit that links entertainment with politics, which opened Friday, the Library has organized the late comedian’s 85,000 pages of jokes into topics in separate digital kiosks.
“It’s really a thrill,” said his daughter, Linda Hope. “I was on the other side of so much of this, like his trips going overseas to entertain the troops.”
Hope died in 2003, just after his 100th birthday, and worked almost to the end — telling side-splitters about presidents ranging from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Bill Clinton.
Linda Hope says her father was quite nervous at his first White House correspondents’ dinner in 1944, unsure whether he’d be a hit with his jokes.
“But he just decided he was going to be brash and let them have it — but being respectful,” she recalls. “That was the thing that kind of set Dad apart a little bit: He was really basically respectful of both sides of the political argument.”
Hope was friends with almost all the presidents, even while poking fun at them.
He once joked that Ronald Reagan as the oldest chief executive made Poligrip denture adhesive “the official presidential seal,” and quipped that Clinton’s long inauguration would be the first to require an intermission.
The comedian usually remained politically neutral but he did take a stand on the Vietnam War, supporting the president and troops.
Hope for America: Performers, Politics and Pop Culture uses Hope’s extensive collection of personal papers, films and radio and television broadcasts, which was donated to the library in 1998.
There are also clips and stories featuring Johnny Carson, Jimmy Stewart, Richard Pryor, Sean Penn, David Letterman and the Smothers Brothers.
The exhibit will be available at the Library of Congress for long-term viewing.
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You can read about the exhibit here. I can’t wait to go and see it!