Saturday Night Live Paid Tribute to George H.W. Bush’s Sense of Humor

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Saturday Night Live Paid Tribute to George H.W. Bush’s Sense of Humor

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Getty ImagesCynthia Johnson

The latest episode of Saturday Night Live wrapped its Weekend Update segment with a tribute to late president George H.W. Bush. During his administration, then-castmember Dana Carvey turned in an all-time classic portrayal of Bush as a quirky fusspot prone to over-the-top gesticulation. And apparently, Bush loved it.

“President Bush was famously a very warm and gracious man who understood the power in being able to laugh at yourself,” said co-anchor Colin Jost, before cutting to clips of vintage Carvey-as-Bush sketches and an SNL appearance by the president himself.

“George Bush here,” said the president. “I’m watching you do your impression of me. It’s nothing like me. Bears no resemblance. It’s bad. It’s bad.”

President Bush was such a fan of Carvey’s that he invited the actor to Washington, D.C. to perform his impression in front of members of the White House staff, The New York Times reports. Carvey even entered to the sounds of “Hail to the Chief:”

When the president took the lectern — “I don’t dare move my hands,” he said — he thanked Mr. Carvey for visiting the White House.

“Dana has given me a lot of laughs,” Mr. Bush said. “He said to me on the phone, ‘Are you sure you really want me to come there?’ And I said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘I hope I’ve never crossed the line.’ I knew exactly what he meant and as far as I’m concerned, he never has.”

Bush and Carvey struck up a friendship, and stayed in touch over the years. During an interview with Conan O’Brien in April, Carvey revealed that Bush may have had a particular soft spot for impressions. “George had always fancied himself an impressionist,” said Carvey. “He started doing a little James Cagney.”

Carvey released a statement Saturday after the announcement of the former president’s death. “It was an honor and a privileged to know and spend time with George H.W. Bush for over 25 years,” it read. “When I think of those times what I remember most is how hard we would laugh. I will miss my friend.”

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