Laughing at the White House:

Executive Summary

Our CYOU project focuses on how the satirical treatments of Presidents change over time—and what these changes represent as the evolving images in the office of President.  We selected nine presidents and split them up into three satirical eras.  Our first era is pre-Saturday Night Live years where satire is more about politics and less about personality: this era was characterized mostly by political cartoons.  The Presidents include John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard M. Nixon.  The second era is the beginning of Saturday Night Live's popularity.  This reflects the post-Watergate breakdown of the political/private barrier in satire.  The Presidents include Ford, Carter, and Reagan.  Finally, in our third era, Presidential image is defined by satirical image and every aspect of a President's life is fair game. These presidents include George H.W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush. Our research and presentation aim to explain how political satire and comedy affect the public's image of different presidents throughout history.

Complete Outline
Discussion Questions
Presidential Satire from JFK to George W.
Additional Infortation
Document of the Week
Essay Question