Will Rogers: An American Original

- Simpkins, Daphne
Will Rogers quite famously never met a man he didn’t like. But there were some politicians he did not agree with, and Rogers told them so both on the stage early in his career as the Cherokee Kid, a warm-up act for the Follies, and later, as a columnist in over 500 newspapers. Eventually a minor actor in 71 movies, Rogers is today best known for his succinct one-liners like, “Communism is like prohibition. It is a good idea, but it won’t work,” and, “Live your life so you’re not afraid to sell the family parrot to the town gossip.” Coolidge, Roosevelt, Hoover and other statesmen listened to and read him. “I don’t make jokes,” Rogers said. “I just watch the government and report the facts.” An enthusiastic explorer of American frontiers, Rogers was flying with Wiley Post over Alaska when their plane went down. Rogers died in 1935, but his wisdom and humor remains surprisingly current. He warned America that Wall Street was “run by a bunch of gamblers!” and is studied seriously by some scholars as an effect of Jeffersonianism and populism.

The speaker prefers a lapel microphone but is comfortable at a podium, as well.