Mayor Pat Paulsen Has the Last Laugh

Associated Press

Comedian Pat Paulsen, a perennial presidential candidate, has taken a cue from Clint Eastwood and is planning to become mayor of a California town.

Eastwood was elected mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea last month in a race that drew international media attention. Paulsen is skipping an election, instead declaring himself mayor of this unincorporated town with a population of five.

“I can’t get elected President, I might as well name myself mayor,” he said.


Paulsen denied he was inspired by Eastwood’s example.

“That had nothing to do with it,” he said. “He’s an entertainer. I’m a real politician. . . . My slogan’s going to be, ‘Make my hour.’ ”

It should be noted that Paulsen owns the village and its inhabitants are either relatives, employees or tenants. The site, about 80 miles north of San Francisco, is the location of the Sonoma Valley winery Paulsen established in 1980.

Paulsen, 58, said in a telephone interview from Mobile, Ala., where he was working at a comedy club, that his inauguration as mayor will be celebrated July 3 at the winery’s tasting room. He said the celebration will be a counterpoint to “that hoopla in New York City,” the Statue of Liberty dedication ceremonies.

“It seems like a fun idea on the eve of the Fourth,” he said. “We’ll have banjo bands, rickety chairs for the press, a mike that’s got a lot of feedback. . . . I’ll be arriving in a limo, with the Secret Service, the whole bit. The mayors from towns around there are coming. They’re all going to get up and denounce me.”

The comedian, who gained fame with his deadpan routines on the old “Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” said he still is planning to run in the Iowa primary for the 1988 presidential race.

“This is kind of a stepping city,” he said.

Between the primary race and his nine months a year on the road entertaining, Paulsen may have trouble keeping up with his new office at the ramshackle lean-to he has designated as city hall.

“Like Eastwood,” he said, “I suppose city hall will go to pieces when I leave town.”