You’ve likely heard that former President Bill Clinton has made a seemingly impromptu visit to the set of “The Hangover 2,” in which he’ll now reportedly have a cameo (photo evidence comes via TMZ). So that’s spoiled for us. The actual scene will be as unsurprising and ineffectual as the Schwarzenegger appearance in “The Expendables” was. Unless Clinton did something unexpected on camera. Maybe he dances around while lip-syncing to Ludacris? Perhaps he’s spotted in a Thai whore house? Nah, he’s probably got one minor little self-parodying joke as “himself,” but nothing too scandalous. He’s probably not even wasted, getting wasted or hungover from a night of being wasted.
I’m sure Clinton has had his share of hangovers in his day, but he’s definitely not the U.S. President we most associate with alcohol. He’s not even the first or second living President we think of. There’s George W. Bush’s DUI and Jimmy Carter’s deregulation of the beer industry (giving a boost to craft and microbrewing). But he is the more likely man to agree to an appearance in an R-rated comedy that will no doubt have plenty of nudity and drug use. Unlike GW Bush, who has to instead be impersonated, I wouldn’t be surprised if Clinton also did a cameo in a “Harold and Kumar” movie making fun of the “didn’t inhale” brouhaha.
Still, I can’t help but wish some other infamously alcoholic dead Presidents were alive to more appropriately appear in a movie related to blacking out from drunkenness. Maybe the next “Hangover” installment can involve a time machine and a visit to any of the listed commanders-in-chief below:
1. James Buchanan
Many of the ex-Presidents highlighted here were heavy enough drinkers that high tolerances could have resulted in few nasty hangovers. Buchanan, though, seems to be the only one for whom we’ve got documented historical evidence that he was typically fine the day after a cognac binge. Here’s what a reporter said sometime during Old Buck’s term: “There was no headache, no faltering steps, no flushed cheek. All was as cool, calm and cautious and watchful as in the beginning.” If only Buchanan was hanging out with the guys in “The Hangover,” he would have clearly remembered exactly what happened to the group, and where Doug was. But that’d be a shorter, less hilarious film.
2. Martin Van Buren
Also said to have had a really, really great tolerance for alcohol, Van Buren could apparently drink and drink and drink without showing any signs of intoxication. But he did nevertheless have enough of a reputation for indulging in liquor to be nicknamed “Blue Whiskey Van” in his youth. It’s uncertain whether he in fact lowered his intake once he became President. I’ve seen some claims that he at least hid his drinking while serving as Vice President to Jackson, while other information points to his alcoholism as being a factor in his loss of a second Presidential term. The latter seems less likely given that it was William Henry Harrison who was linked to booze, specifically hard cider, during the 1840 election.
3. Franklin Pierce
All we need to remember is his famous words regarding his White House exit: when asked what is next for him after leaving the office of the presidency, Pierce told reporters, “there’s nothing left but to get drunk.” This makes the guy sound pretty cool, but in reality he is considered the least popular President ever, was denied a second term by his own party, hardly had any relationship with is wife while she was First Lady (or afterward) and his increased alcoholism was likely a result of all this failure. He not surprisingly died of cirrhosis a little over a decade later. Still find alcohol abuse so amusing?
4. Chester A. Arthur
He was more of a moderate drinker, appreciating fine wines and liquors. And claims that he was too hungover on Sunday mornings to walk across the street to church (his short carriage rides may have been due to mere laziness, or dependent on the weather). But he was quite the entertainer, often retiring very late in the night following hours of partying at the White House. He also had the greatest facial hair of any President, not that this has anything to do with drinking. I’d love to see Zach Galifianakis shave his chin as a tribute.
5. John Adams
Everyone knows the best cure for a hangover is to keep on drinking. Well, maybe not the “best” in terms of your health, though even a single glass of beer in the morning can temporarily relieve the withdrawal symptoms. It’s not certain that this is why Adams — not to be confused with his beer-brewing cousin, Samuel Adams — drank beer every day for breakfast as a young man. It’s not even certain that this “beer” was necessarily alcoholic. It’s more interesting to think the second President was a daily drinker, though, whether or not he was so to combat hangovers from the rest of the liquor — rum and cider perhaps — he seemed to enjoy. If only Paul Giamatti’s unknown role in “The Hangover 2” was a reprisal of his portrayal of John Adams.