WHICH PRES WAS A STAND-UP COMIC?

A Stint in Las Vegas

Ronald ReaganLike other movie actors, Ronald Reagan saw his acting career begin to slump in the ’50s.  Fewer and fewer movie roles were coming his way, and many actors were turning to television.  Although a critic of television, Reagan was to follow this route, too.  But first, in 1954 he took a gig as a Las Vegas stand-up comic for a few weeks.  He also was a Master of Ceremonies, announcing a singing quartet, “The Continentals.”  Later that same year Reagan got a break. He landed a job as host of a weekly TV drama series, GE Electric Theater. The former movie actor joined the ranks of TV performers.  Unpredictably, his position with General Electric was to lead him into politics.

Part of his responsibility was to tour the United States as a pubic relations representative for GE, seeking out workers’ opinions. In making celebrity appearances at GE plants  he received a “political education.” During this time he switched his views from liberal to conservative and began speaking out against government regulation and wasteful spending. As it turned out, the job he probably would not have accepted if his acting career had still been on track proved to be an excellent training ground for this future role as president.

The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” — Ronald Reagan