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The pretty much always-awesome Kliph Nesterhoff posted a new article this morning on the WFMU blog — The Comedy Writer That Helped Elect Richard M. Nixon. It’s all about Paul Keyes — the man who was the head-writer on Laugh-In, the NBC sketch comedy series designed to appeal to the hippies as well as Middle America, without being particularly subversive. (To be fair, when I was 7, I used to tape Laugh-In reruns on Nick At Nite, and I loved the show then.) Keyes was also a friend of Richard Nixon, and was hired as a joke writer… as people thought. As it turned out, while that’s all he was OFFICIALLY, he was his media advisor and molded the awkward man who lost the 1960 election on his lack of television savvy into a man who, while still awkward, was at least aware of it, which appealed to potential voters.
I’ve always been really interested in Nixon — while I disagreed with him, I find him a conflicted, interesting character. So, as both a Nixon… interested-in-guy (I hesitate to say “fan”) and TV geek, this article’s really interesting. And kind of interesting how McLuhan was so responsible for Nixon getting elected… even if it is indirectly. Go read this article — it’s incredibly interesting.