Pat Paulsen for President

He’s back, and still better than all the rest.

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September 20th, 2008 · 36 Comments

Looks like Pat’s son, Monty Paulsen, is gearing up for a 2012 run for the White House. Here he hits the campaign trail to find the pulse of American voters.

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Tommy Smothers Says Paulsen Saved the Show

September 19th, 2008 · 13 Comments

By RICH FREEDMAN/Times-Herald staff writer

Pat Paulsen may have credited the Smothers Brothers with launching his career. But it was the late mock-presidential candidate who saved the popular Smothers Brothers Show, says the man who should know.
“Pat was probably the most recognizable and definable part of the show,” said Tommy Smothers. “If the show was a painting, he was the brightest color.”

It’s debatable who actually urged Paulsen to run for commander in chief of the free world starting in 1968 through 1996, Smothers said.

“It could have come from a whole bunch of people,” he said. “But his ’68 run was one of the best satirical things ever done in politics.”

Smothers first met Paulsen in 1959. The brothers were performing at the Purple Onion in San Francisco and the nondescript Paulsen was a stranger who approached Tommy and Dick after several performances.

“He’d say, ‘I enjoyed your show. If you want to put in my comedy, I think that would really help. But I like you guys a lot,'” recalled Smothers. “And he’d wander away.”

Paulsen repeated his encouragement that the Smothers “sing good, but the act needs comedy,” Tommy recalled, later realizing Paulsen was doing his show up the street.

“We became friends and took him on the road,” Tommy said.

Then came the popular TV show “and we’d put Pat on as much as we could,” Tommy said. “And every time we’d have a sketch that wasn’t working, we’d put in Pat or a midget.”

Looking back, Smothers said, “he was the best at deadpan comedy since Buster

Keaton. You could never break him” into smiling.
The best of Paulsen was often never seen, Smothers said.

“He had a ribald sense of humor. He’d be sitting in his car with my brother telling jokes that were just disgusting,” Tommy said. “He had this great, naughty sense of humor. He just never showed it on stage.”

When it came to physical comedy, “God, was he good,” Smothers said. “When he fell or stumbled over, he had all the moves.”

Paulsen has been missed since he died from cancer April 24, 1997.

“It was a great loss. He was the most important comedic talent I’ve met in my life,” Smothers said, grateful that Paulsen receives a Comedy Legends Award at Comedy Day in San Francisco on Sept. 28.

“I think he has been a little bit forgotten,” Smothers said. “People don’t realize how very, very smart Pat was. Though he wasn’t particularly wise in investments.”

This year’s Obama vs. McCain battle could have used Paulsen in the mix, Smothers said.

“Pat would have been great. He always had this powerful sense of commitment when he ran. There was no joke about it, though there was the joke underneath it. He never let on that it’s a joke, which is amazing. Not many could do that.”

There was nothing like strolling around with Paulsen, said Smothers.

“Whenever I’d walk around with him, people would yell, ‘Hey, Mr. President,'” Smothers said. “We miss him.”

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Deadpan Comic Paulsen Claims Legendary Status

September 19th, 2008 · 1 Comment

Posthumous award show will feature 30 stand-ups
By RICH FREEDMAN/Times-Herald staff writer
Before Will Durst, there was Pat Paulsen.

And Durst, arguably the most well-known Bay Area political comic, would be the first to support the posthumous (post-humorous?) Comedy Legends Award bestowed upon Paulsen at Comedy Day in San Francisco on Sept. 28.

“I remember Pat when he first announced he was running for president on ‘The Smothers Brothers Show’ in 1968. He did these double-talk speeches that were so hysterical because he had that look of a ’60s-era politician,” Durst said. “It was hysterical. That was satire.”

Durst, one of the 30 stand-ups performing at the annual free comedy show at Sharon Meadows, believes Paulsen’s plaudits – the late comic’s son, Monty Paulsen, accepts the award – are long overdue.

“Pat Paulsen was so familiar that he became part of the landscape and nobody noticed until he wasn’t there,” Durst said. “He was like a landmark that nobody realizes was a landmark until they’re about to tear it down.”

Paulsen, a Sonoma County resident, died April 24, 1997, from cancer, ending what had become a comedic tradition of running for the presidency every election since taking on Richard Nixon 40 years ago.

There was nobody around like Paulsen, said Durst, who can’t forget his first meeting with the man whose legacy of campaign slogans included “I’ve upped my standard, now up yours” and “If elected, I will win.”

“What impressed me most was his courtliness,” Durst said. “The term ‘gentle man’ must have been coined specifically for him.”

From Paulsen, Durst said, he learned “how to not worry about how a crowd was reacting.”

“He was funny and if they didn’t get it, he didn’t care,” Durst recalled. “He just did what he did.”

Ronnie Schell, the Richmond-raised comic best known for his role as Jim Nabors’ best friend, Duke Slater, in the TV show, “Gomer Pyle, USMC,” and more recently for his vocal work in numerous animated programs, appeared with Paulsen on “The Smothers Brothers Show” in 1970.

Few are as deserving of Comedy Day’s Legends Award as Paulsen, said Schell, who was the first Comedy Legend Award winner in 2002.

“We started (comedy) around the same time and he moved vastly ahead of me,” Schell said. “He waved at me, but without a smile.”

Even when Paulsen became successful, “he never flaunted it,” Schell said. “He treated me like one of the guys I knew when we worked the Purple Onion.”

Berkeley comic Johnny Steele, another comic who sprinkles his routines with political material, said he’ll always remember watching Paulsen on the Smothers Brothers’ TV show even though he was only a kid.

“I didn’t understand the humor, especially the political stuff, but the sad face and deadpan delivery were seared into my brain forever,” Steele said. “Decades later, I saw him at Tommy T’s Comedy House and I was fully aware that I was seeing an American comedy icon.”

Paulsen’s snail-like delivery took discipline, said Steele, “and it revealed that he was confident in his skills and believed in his jokes. He had this wonderful subtlety about him. He used his humor to challenge that status quo or at least to get people to stop and look at the issues. And he made it look so easy.”

San Leandro’ s Brian Copeland, comic and author of the book and one-man show, “Not a Genuine Black Man,” knew Paulsen for more than 20 years.

“What a great commentator he was on the state of affairs in America,” Copeland said. “He had this brilliant way of making the absurd logical.”

Copeland’s relationship with Paulsen went beyond comic-to-comic.

“I loved him. He was like a father to me and I was his third son,” Copeland said. “I even called him ‘Dad.’ I’ll be driving along today when something reminds me of one of his lines and I’ll laugh out loud.”


What: Comedy Day

Who: 30 comics, including Rick Overton, Mike Pritchard, Diane Amos, Will Durst, Hal Sparks, Tom Rhodes, Mike E. Winfield and Brian Copeland

When: Sunday, Sept. 28, noon to 5 p.m.

Where: Sharon Meadows, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Admission: Free


Story originally published here:

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California Presidential Candidates and Campaigns from the Golden State

September 19th, 2008 · 2 Comments

California Historical SocietyAny of you who live in Northern California or are planning a visit in the next few months must stop by to see this exciting collection.

This exhibition at the California Historical Society in San Francisco offers a fun and fascinating look at the wide array of Californians who either ran, or were urged to run for the presidency. From quirky characters like our own Pat Paulsen (Straight Talking American Government (STAG) Party) and Gracie Allen (The Surprise Party) to hard-hitting history makers like Ronald Reagan (Republican) and Richard Nixon (Republican), as well as a few controversial ground/breakers like Eldridge Cleaver (Peace and Freedon Party) and Angela Davis (Communist Party, vice presidential candidate), the exhibition examines both the significant and the silly contributions Californians have made to the history of the presidential race…..

For more info, visit:

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August 20th, 2008 · 1 Comment

“The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour Best of Season 3” is available and can be ordered on the Smothers Brothers website. There is a bunch of Pat Paulsen material in this five DVD set, including “The Pat Paulsen for President” special which aired on CBS in October 1968. Read all of the details on their site.

We’ve supplied a lot of material never seen before and are really excited to see the entire package. Please post your comments after you have had an opportunity to view the collection. We’re looking forward to hearing the raves!!!!!

*Update September 19……A four disc set is now available in stores and

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June 1st, 2008 · 12 Comments

A tense election year. A volatile atmosphere. America at war. Unrest and cynicism. Racial tension. A nation in turmoil cries out for hope and change. One man answers the call. The year is 1968. The man is Pat Paulsen.

Did Pat Paulsen win the 1968 election? Was there a conspiracy to cover up the number of actual write-in votes? Why was Paulsen forced to appear on national television to denounce his own candidacy? Was this voter suppression? Was this censorship at its height? The Washington Post refused to run his ad asking for write-in votes. Their reason: “We take our politics seriously”, to which Paulsen replied, “So do I.”This is a brief look at the life of the man who should have been President.

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NBC and NBA copying Pat Paulsen’s idea? We have proof!

May 19th, 2008 · 4 Comments

May 17, 2008 – Saturday Night Live did a parody of an NBA ad campaign. Once again, Pat, ahead of his time, already blazed through this bit of political satire. Forty years ago, Pat created this on the Smother Brothers show, when he was filmed “Talking out of both sides of his face” during his 1968 Presidential Campaign.

Pat’s Version:

SNL’s Version:

NBA’s Version:

We think Pat’s version is better! Sometimes you just can’t beat the original idea. You decide which version is better. We’re interested in your opinion… post a comment!

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April 19th, 2008 · 7 Comments

OCEAN CITY, NJ…..Pat Paulsen for President Headquarters is now open at Doo Dah Central located in City Hall Annex, 901 Asbury Avenue.

The Doo Dah Board of Governors and Parade Committee have officially endorsed the deceased comedian for president. There will be a Paulsen for President Brigade in the City’s Doo Dah Parade, Sat., April 26 starting at noon.

The Doo Dah offices have been officially designated the New Jersey headquarters for the November election by Paulsen’s widow and soul mate, Noma, National campaign manager from Tujunga, California.

Noma and Paulsen’s children Terri and Monty will visit Ocean City for its Doo Dah events. They will arrive in town next Thursday (April 24).

The Doo Dah Parade has honored legendary comedians for 23 years. Officials note that Paulsen was the first famous comedian to run for president.

“His consistency has been amazing,” notes Mark Soifer, Doo Dah Parade co-founder. “He ran in 1968, 1972, 1980, 1984, 1988, and 1992 when he beat Ross Perot in the North Dakota primary. In 1996, he finished second to Bill Clinton in New Hampshire. Now he’s returned from the Great Beyond in an attempt to haunt the Oval Office.

“I’m pleased as punch to have been named New Jersey Campaign Manager by Noma Paulsen,” says Soifer. “The Doo Dah Board of Governors believes that Pat’s ghost can bring a refreshing, humorous approach to the present campaign.

Paulsen has a solid platform, said Soifer. Here are two of his ideas:

On Foreign Aid: We should ask every country in the world to send us whatever they can.

On Taxes: No taxes. Let’s just tip the government 15% if they do a good job.

And so it goes. You gotta love this guy’s logic dead or alive.

The Doo Dah/Paulsen Campaign headquarters has Paulsen “United We Sit” buttons, bumper stickers and posters. Paulsen’s 2008 slogans include: “Pat Paulsen in ’08, Dead Man Running”, “Pat Paulsen in ’08, Thinking Inside the Box”, and “Pat Paulsen in ’08, Never Say Die!”

Paulsen was a regular on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and national TV programs until he passed away in 1997.

“What with the war, the price of gas, the economy and an endless primary, we could all use some Pat Paulsen humor, noted Soifer. “Besides, April is National Humor Month, an appropriate time to remember Pat and his many contributions to comedy.”

Paulsen’s family will hold a press conference at the Port O’ Call on Fri., April 25 at 11 a.m. to announce his posthumous platform and interview vice-presidential hopefuls.

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NEW CONTEST – Name Pat Paulsen’s Running Mate

March 29th, 2008 · 62 Comments

The Democrats are battling for a nominee (it’s getting nasty, folks!) and John McCain is searching for just the right running mate (you know there’s got to be much discussion among his staff to look for someone younger, perhaps a woman, certainly and individual with executive and economic skills). We think it’s time to focus on a Vice Presidential candidate to serve with Pat.

Because Pat’s supporters are so innovative and bright, as evidenced by the wonderful entries in the slogan contest, we’ve decided to leave the decision up to you, our loyal readers.

In the comment section below this post, name a person, living OR not, who will complement the ticket in Pat’s run for the highest office in the land. Make sure to indicate WHY you’ve made your choice. The winner of this contest will receive an original campaign poster from 1968, signed by Pat in 1996 (pictured below).

Good luck everyone!


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March 29th, 2008 · 11 Comments

We have had so many great entries. It shows that supporters of Pat’s candidacy are truly a bunch of brilliant and clever people! The decision was extremely difficult and we want to thank each and every one of the entrants for their participation in the contest.

There is a four way tie for first place. CONGRATULATIONS to:

Lou Warne from Green Lane, PA “Resurrect and Elect!”

Bill Martin from Bainbridge Island, WA “Dead Man Running”

Bill McClellan from Nashua, NH, “Thinking Inside the Box”

Joel Goodman from Saratoga Springs, NY “Never Say Die!”

All four winners will receive an autographed copy of Pat’s 1968 book “Pat Paulsen for President”.

1968-book.jpgHonorable Mention winners will also receive a first edition copy of the same book. Sorry, not signed:

Duane Heikkinen from Rhinelander, WIÂ “Bringing New Life to Politics”

David Grenewtski from Novato, CA “Join the Pat Paulsen Underground” and…..

Rusty Gear from Los Angeles, CA “One Step Beyond”

Congratulations, again to one and all! Stay tuned – a new contest will be announced in a few days.

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