First joke presidential candidate?

er … better make that first INTENTIONAL joke candidate, before we hear somebody’s opinion of Dewitt Clinton. Comedians mounting joke campaigns has a long history - many of us remember Pat Paulson from the late 60’s. I thought of this when I heard it mentioned that Gracie Allen ran for president on the “surprise party” ticket in 1940. BTW, the surprise party platform is pretty entertaining:

My question would be, who was the first person to run for president as a joke, and have the joke widely promulgated to the entire country? It would not have to be in the era of mass media. I could imagine somebody doing it in the early 19th century and carrying out the gag through printed broadsides and so on. I’m sure that there was ample comic material available in even the earliest contests.

Political satire wasn’t that sophisticated in the 18th and 19th centuries, so those era can be written off fairly easily.

Most of the ridicule in that era was directly heaped onto the candidates.

However, I’m sure that even as early as 1789, there were a few crackpots who thought that they should elected president. However, Joe Average Farmer in New Hampshire isn’t going to get a lot of publicity for it.

I think Will Rogers set up some joke campaign either in 1928 or 1932, but I also think he was taken seriously.

Doesn’t MAD magazine always sponsor Alfred E. Neuman?

Yes - Will Rogers apparently ran on the “Anti-Bunk” ticket, sponsored by Life magazine in 1928. MAD magazine was first published in the early 50’s.