Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Pat Paulsen (6 July, 1927- 1997) was a United States comedian and satirist notable for his roles on several of the Smothers Brothers TV shows, and for his supposed campaigns for President of the United States in 1968, 1972, 1976, 1992, and 1996, which had comedic rather than political objectives.
After graduating from high school, Paulsen immediately joined the U.S. Marines during World War II. Paulsen returned home after the war and worked several jobs, including working as a posting clerk, truck driver, hod carrier, selling Fuller brushes, toiling in a gypsum mine and later he was employed as a photostat operator for several years. After attending San Francisco City College, Paulsen joined an acting group called "The Ric-y-tic Players" and formed a comedy trio which included his brother Lorin.
Paulsen went on to become a single act appearing as a comedic guitarist in various clubs on the west coast and in New York City. During one of his appearances in San Francisco, he met the Smothers Brothers.
In 1967, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour premiered. Paulsen was hired because he sold them cheap songs and would run errands. At first he was cast as their editorialist, and his dead-pan, double-talk comments on the issues of the day propelled him into the national consciousness. His work on The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour earned Paulsen an Emmy in 1968.
The comedian was approached by the Smothers Brothers with the idea of running for president in 1968. His reply, he was later to recount, was: "Why not? I can't dance — besides, the job has a good pension plan and I'll get a lot of money when I retire."
Paulsen's campaign that year, and in succeeding years, was grounded in comedy, while not bereft of serious commentary. He ran the supposed campaigns using obvious lies, double talk, and tongue-in-cheek attacks on the major candidates, and responded to all criticism with his catchphrase "Picky, picky, picky".
During later years, Paulsen appeared in nightclubs, theaters, and conventions throughout the country. He also appeared each summer in Muskegon, Michigan, at the Cherry County Playhouse where he produced and starred in some 25 different plays, including "The Fantastics," "The Odd Couple," "Harvey," and "The Sunshine Boys."
Paulsen died in 1997.
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