It was a kinder, gentler time — December 1992.
President George H.W. Bush, who died Friday at age 94, had just been soundly defeated by Bill Clinton in his bid for re-election.
But he extended an unexpected invitation to Dana Carvey — the comedian/impressionist who had mocked him on an almost weekly basis on “Saturday Night Live” — to appear at the White House for a holiday party for outgoing and deeply dispirited staffers.
And so Carvey appeared in the East Room, entering to the tune of “Hail to the Chief” and addressing his audience with his spot-on Bush voice and wild hand gesticulations.
“This is very, very strange,” the Canadian-born comic soon said in his own voice, and then recalled his evening in the Lincoln bedroom the night before.
“I couldn’t resist getting on the phone, and I called up the Secret Service as the president: ‘I feel like going jogging tonight. In the nude,’” he joked, back in Bush’s voice. “‘Fully unclothed.’”
Unlike President Donald Trump, who bristles publicly at Alec Baldwin’s impersonation of him on the current “SNL,” Bush seemed to take Carvey’s mockery in stride.
“Dana has given me a lot of laughs,” Bush said when he reclaimed his podium, joined by his wife, Barbara (who herself died earlier this year). “And the fact that we can laugh at each other is a very fundamental thing.”
The elder President Bush even occasionally adopted some of Carvey’s Bushisms as his own in public appearances, including the memorable “Wouldn’t be prudent at this juncture.”
According to the Washington Post, Carvey was initially reluctant to make the White House appearance back in 1992. As Bush wrote in his diary, “He told me I’ve tried not to cross the line of fairness. I told him I didn’t think he had.”
Watch the video above.