Of all the praise that flowed in the wake of the death of former President George H. W. Bush, other than a mean-spirited tweet from The Associated Press, perhaps one of the most impressive features was that he was such a gracious man.
A congenial disposition that was on display when he invited comedian Dana Carvey, who did a hilarious impression of the president on “Saturday Night Live” at the time — which featured the now-iconic line, “Not gonna do it. Wouldn’t be prudent.” — to the White House Christmas Party.
“Dana has given me a lot of laughs,” Bush said that night. “And the fact that we can laugh at each other is a very fundamental thing.”
And while not above laughing at himself, it’s noteworthy to point out Bush extended the invitation to Carvey after he lost the 1992 election to Bill Clinton. Truly a “kinder, gentler” time compared to the polarizing, hate-filled politics of today.
When we think of vile comedians today like Kathy Griffin and Michelle Wolf, what a contrast Carvey represents, who was reportedly reluctant to accept the invitation over his persistent mocking of the president.
“He told me I’ve tried not to cross the line of fairness. I told him I didn’t think he had,” Bush wrote in his diary.
“Saturday Night Live” paid tribute to Bush over the weekend, running a compilation of Carvey’s impressions of the late president.
The tribute came in the final moments of the show’s “Weekend Update” segment and ended with Bush and his doppelganger on a split screen.
Ironically, an unlikely friendship developed between the two men.
“It was an honor and a privilege to know and spend time with George H.W. Bush for over 25 years,” the comedian said in a statement after Bush’s death. “When I think of those times what I remember most is how hard we would laugh.”
“I will miss my friend,” Carvey added.
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