Looking Back At Dana Carvey's SNL Impression Of President George H.W. Bush

Originally published on December 3, 2018 7:58 pm
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AILSA CHANG, HOST:

And now a comment on a comic impression of former President George H.W. Bush.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE")

DANA CARVEY: (As George H.W. Bush) Feel like going jogging tonight...

(LAUGHTER)

CARVEY: (As George H.W. Bush) ...In the nude.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

(Laughter) That's Dana Carvey. On "Saturday Night Live," Carvey's impression of Bush exaggerated personal tics of the one-term president such as his tendency to shun personal pronouns and definite articles.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE")

CARVEY: (As George H.W. Bush) Wouldn't be prudent at this juncture - not going to do it, not going to do it.

KELLY: Carvey revealed that to impersonate Bush 41, quote, "you start out with Mr. Rogers, and then you add a little John Wayne."

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE")

CARVEY: (As George H.W. Bush) You know, it's been a while since I talked to you. Let me tell you. It's been a good summer up there in the Bush family compound, up there in Kennebunkport Bay, that whole area up there. I'm in that speedboat going round and round, doing loop-the-loops.

(LAUGHTER)

CARVEY: (As George H.W. Bush) Did some fishing.

(LAUGHTER)

CARVEY: (As George H.W. Bush) Didn't catch any - not the point.

(LAUGHTER)

CARVEY: (As George H.W. Bush) No, sir, got out there on that water, got in that relaxation mode, recharged the batteries.

(LAUGHTER)

CHANG: Carvey borrowed phrases that underscored the patrician upbringing of the president. Some of those lines happened to be written by fellow "SNL" writer and future U.S. Senator Al Franken.

KELLY: And Bush for his part took the ribbing in stride. He even appeared in a "Saturday Night Live" cameo alongside Carvey.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE")

CARVEY: (As George H.W. Bush) Thousand points of light still operating, coming in from all those areas.

(LAUGHTER)

CARVEY: (As George H.W. Bush) Not going to do it. Not going to do it.

(LAUGHTER)

GEORGE H W BUSH: Hey, George Bush here. I'm watching you doing your impression of me. And I got to say it's nothing like me, bears no resemblance. It's bad. It's bad.

(LAUGHTER)

CARVEY: Well, I'm sorry, Mr. President. I think it's a fair impression.

BUSH: Don't see it.

CARVEY: You don't?

BUSH: It's totally exaggerated. It's not me, those crazy hand gestures, the pointing thing. I don't do them. And also, na ga da (ph) - never said it.

CHANG: After Bush left office, the pair kept in touch. When Carvey heard the president had died, he wrote about their relationship.

KELLY: That's right. He wrote, (reading) it was an honor and a privilege to know and spend time with George H.W. Bush for over 25 years. When I think of those times, what I remember most is how hard we would laugh. I will miss my friend. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.