Sadly, I wasn’t able to attend last night’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner — I was busy ruining a different social occasion. That’s another story, and one that I’m unlikely to tell anytime soon. Suffice it to say I will probably never leave the house again.
Back to the so-called “nerd prom.” In case you didn’t know, the White House Correspondents’ Dinner is what passes for comedy here in Washington. Besides the occasional Tea Party protest, that is.
The event typically features a mix of uncomfortable-looking policymakers, reporters and celebrities enduring an evening of toothless political humor. Only once in recent history did the dinner approach edgy. The 2006 event with George W. Bush was infamously hosted by Stephen Colbert, who skewered the administration to the horror of GOP bigwigs and the delight of thinking persons worldwide.
This year they got Jay Leno.
It’s not really all that difficult to be funnier than Jay. Certainly a lot simpler than passing health care reform, finding an exit strategy for Afghanistan and cleaning up a giant grease puddle in the Gulf. But kudos to President Obama for making it look even easier.
Jay faltered with predictably lame jokes like, “if John McCain had been elected, this dinner could have been an early-bird special.” The president, on the other hand, landed sweet zingers that poked fun at both himself and his political opposition.
On his contested nationality: “My approval ratings are still very high in the country of my birth.”
On the “secret provisions” in the new health care law: “That’s ridiculous. There aren’t a few secret provisions. . . there are, like, hundreds.”
On Rep. Eric Massa‘s allegations of verbal abuse from White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel: “He claims that Rahm started screaming obscenities at him. To which I say, welcome to my world.”
On old rival McCain: “John recently claimed he had never identified himself as a maverick. And we all know what happens in Arizona when you don’t have ID.”
On social networks: “I hear I’m still pretty big on Twitter, Facebook, or, as Sarah Palin calls it, the Socialized Media.”
On Jay: “The only person who’s ratings fell more than mine in the last year is here tonight. Great to see you Jay. I’m also glad that I’m speaking first, because we’ve all seen what happens when somebody takes the time slot after Leno’s.”
Say what you will about the guy — he’s got great writers. Even if one of them is, like, 12.
There are sooooo many more good ones. Check it: