Obama and the White House Corres. Dinner

President Obama made the most of his final White House Correspondents' Dinner last night. While he probably can't take credit for the content of the jokes (written by others), he did a great job delivering them. He really had the timing down.

Obama and the jokes were funny and entertaining, especially about Trump, Cruz and Kasich. Here are some of the funnier ones.

Larry Wilmore gave the comedy monologue. I didn't care for him. He wasn't funny, just insulting. [More....]

Everything was either about race or a personal insult. Many of his attacks fell flat, like the one against Wolf Blitzer. No one laughed, and Wolf didn't react. Watching the audience throughout his monologue, it seemed there were many more raised eyebrows and stone faces than laughs. About 5 minutes into it, a chiron at the bottom of the TV screen asked: "Do you think Larry Wilmore is funny right now?" I don't remember that being asked during past monologues. John Boehner was funnier than he was, and that's saying something. I turned off the TV about 10 minutes into Wilmore's bit. I think he bombed.

Update: If you missed Obama's reference to Prince George, here's the photo. How cute is this little guy?

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    Had a different take (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by KeysDan on Sun May 01, 2016 at 08:43:34 AM EST
    on Larry Wilmore.  President Obama's presentation was geared primarily for the audience in attendance, whereas, Larry Wilmore's was largely for the viewing audience.

      Wilmore, like his former boss, Jon Stewart, specializes in parodies of the media, which he did last night, in their presence.  It made them uncomfortable to the point of squirming when the mirror was held up to them--albeit a fun house mirror.

    The media enjoyed, of course, much more,  jokes that poked fun at the politicians. It is true that Wilmore personalized some, but they do revel in being considered media personalities masquerading, only occasionally as journalists.

       The joke about Morning Joe being Trump's family, whose centerpiece involved the gastrointestinal tract where they met Christie, was crass.  But, illustrative.

      My objection(s) were use of those truly off limit words at the end, and in references to Andrew Jackson.  Such references may be acceptable in more homogeneous settings, it did not work well here.  At all.

    A 5 to you for your.... (none / 0) (#2)
    by magster on Sun May 01, 2016 at 10:06:40 AM EST
    creatively reducing the Morning Joe/Trump/Christie joke to medically correct and polite terms.

    Knowledge of anatomy (none / 0) (#3)
    by KeysDan on Sun May 01, 2016 at 10:41:30 AM EST
    came in handy, such as Larry Wilmore's admonishment, but understanding, of the media's treatment of Trump with "kid" gloves--a necessity, to accommodate Little Marco's observation of Trump's child-sized hands.  And, in response to Larry's acknowledgement of CNN's journalists in the audience--and Don Lemon is here too, got an inelegant digit response from Lemon.  Media can give, but can't take a "ribbing."  

    Don Lemon took it fine (none / 0) (#9)
    by Towanda on Sun May 01, 2016 at 01:56:37 PM EST
    as a friend, it turns out, of Wilmore.

    Lemon was one of the few (none / 0) (#13)
    by Jeralyn on Sun May 01, 2016 at 03:00:29 PM EST
    I saw who laughed at his jokes

    I thought Obama was great (none / 0) (#4)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun May 01, 2016 at 11:27:36 AM EST
    I agree about Wilmore.  He wasn't the best host ever but not the worst.

    I just watched it.

    Interesting Trump chose not to attend.  I think it show just how much he hates being the butt of jokes.

    Also interesting Hillary did not attend.  Maybe she was given a text of the routine.

    Give Sanders credit for showing up.  For the early bird special correspondents dinner joke.


    On Obama (none / 0) (#5)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun May 01, 2016 at 11:29:04 AM EST
    Any routine that includes at least one Game of Thrones joke works for me.

    Or perhaps Clinton and Trump (none / 0) (#7)
    by CoralGables on Sun May 01, 2016 at 12:33:39 PM EST
    were campaigning in Indiana.

    This. (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Towanda on Sun May 01, 2016 at 01:59:40 PM EST
    And the Sanderses again jetted away on the eve of a primary.  Heck, take the jet to Vermont and find the tax returns.  (Of course, they could just retrieve them from TurboTax, wherever they are.)

    It must have tired him out, though -- since this morning, on Face the Nation, Sanders again called for Democrats to defeat Clinton.  In the general election.  (I think that, in the context, he misspoke and meant Trump.  But, cripes, he said it.)


    I (5.00 / 3) (#15)
    by FlJoe on Sun May 01, 2016 at 03:42:54 PM EST
    find the whole dinner mildly unseemly in the first place, while I don't mind politicians laughing at themselves the journalists are a pathetic joke every day of the year, watching them wining and dining and poking mild fun at each other makes me want to puke...I take back that mildly.

    I am  mildly surprised that Bernie showed up this event that is the epitome of corporate whoredom(MSM style) and the political elite.(YMMV))


    Bernie and Jane Sanders were (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by caseyOR on Sun May 01, 2016 at 06:24:17 PM EST
    at the dinner as the guests of CBS. So much for an impartial press.

    If her were trying to win the nomination (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by CoralGables on Sun May 01, 2016 at 09:26:48 PM EST
    he would have been in Indiana.

    That was obviously Sam Adams typing (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by CoralGables on Sun May 01, 2016 at 09:27:52 PM EST
    That's so (none / 0) (#21)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun May 01, 2016 at 09:28:06 PM EST
    Last week.

    As good an excuse as any (none / 0) (#12)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun May 01, 2016 at 02:24:38 PM EST
    I guess

    Personally speaking, I gave up ... (none / 0) (#6)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun May 01, 2016 at 12:32:36 PM EST
    ... on the White House Correspondents Dinner ten years ago, when everyone there got their skivvies and panties knotted over the well-deserved and long-overdue skewering they received from Stephen Colbert, and they decided to get Rich Little the following year. It would be very hard to find a bigger conclave of self-anointed divas outside The Vatican, than the media elite of the Acela Corridor.

    Stephen Colbert's (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by KeysDan on Sun May 01, 2016 at 12:56:48 PM EST
    presentation was critically received at the time.  Afterword, upon wide viewing, it became the classic that it is.

    Many of Larry Wilmore's jokes did not get the laughter they deserved by the audience, the target of much of the skewering. That, in turn, made the jokes fall flat.

    Jokes about politicians, however lame, got a greater laugh.  Politicians were expected to laugh along, or at least smile. It's a roast, after all.

    The media personalities just steamed.  Wolf Blitzer appeared so hot, even TV viewers could fell the burn.

    True, Wilmore is no Colbert, and he seemed a little off his customary good timing, but it would be a lot better for our democracy if these media meatheads would boo politicians who appear on their shows and say that they will carpet bomb Syria, ditch NATO, claim not to know who David Duke is, round up millions, build beautiful walls, and break up Wall Street into little pieces.  


    He was dead on (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun May 01, 2016 at 03:59:46 PM EST
    About Wolfs follow up questions.  

    I found Wilmore's timing at fault, too (none / 0) (#11)
    by Towanda on Sun May 01, 2016 at 02:00:54 PM EST
    as I have in his Daily Show.

    That suggests that Jon Stewart had a team that gave Wilmore good coaching on timing.  He needs it.


    I thought Jimmy Kimmel (none / 0) (#14)
    by Jeralyn on Sun May 01, 2016 at 03:01:48 PM EST
    did a great job his year. I didn't think Colbert was that funny.

    ... which had long shielded the Emperor C+ Augustus and the fawning courtiers in Beltway media from real public criticism. And much as his good friend John Stewart did in his earlier and now-notorious appearance on CNN's "Crossfire," he availed himself of that rare opportunity to boldly speak truth to power.

    I would agree with you that Colbert's appearance wasn't all that funny, at least not in the traditional sense of what we had come to expect from him. Rather, he was often caustic and sarcastic that night. Nevertheless, he gave voice to what so desperately needed to be heard by our east coast media elite, who had gotten entirely too comfortable with their own efforts to marginalize any and all contrary opinions.

    Colbert held up a mirror to his audience at the 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner, and for very obvious reasons they didn't at all appreciate what they saw in its reflection. For that reason, I consider that particular moment to be far more indicative of Colbert's true personal character, than was the buffoonish caricature of Bill O'Reilly that he played so deftly on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report," or the gracious (sometimes to the point of ingratiating) late-night talk show host he is today.

    (Coincidentally to this discussion, Colbert's guest tonight on "The Late Show" will be none other than Bill O'Reilly.)

    And further, the fact that the Beltway media elite decided upon Rich Little as their host for the 2007 WHC dinner spoke volumes about where THEY were coming from. Because lest you and others forget, THIS was the end result that year.



    "None Dare Call (us) Credulous" (none / 0) (#17)
    by Mr Natural on Sun May 01, 2016 at 05:31:54 PM EST
    I for one (none / 0) (#22)
    by Nemi on Mon May 02, 2016 at 07:57:08 AM EST
    didn't find Obamas speech funny or his delivery praise worthy. Never did, actually, as his 'jokes' to me always comes across as mean and demeaning. I'm sure that if any of his buddies decided to spill the beans they could tell about mean jokes he's made about pretty much every person he's ever met, including heads of state ... maybe bar Justin Trudeau. Probably because in his mind they are almost the same, handsome and charming!

    He is so full of himself with his constant smirk and can hardly keep from giggling and snickering out loud at the brilliance of his own 'jokes'. And his timing sucks - he leaves far too much time for himself to selfabsorbed bask in the, not all that enthusiastic actually, applause. The speech could have been delivered in far shorter time. Might even have improved it. Some.

    Not only did I find the man and the delivery less than stellar, the 'jokes' weren't even funny. Wouldn't be surprised to learn, that he actually wrote them himself. He ridicules just about everyone, whether foe or friend, wife, kids; I mean the 'joke' about 2-year old prince George? Both unfunny and inexplicable. Unless it was to stress that: 'Hey, I'm buddy with the royals'?

    And the 'joke' about Bernie Sanders? "37,000 donations of $27 each." Where did that number 37.000 even come from? Wouldn't it have been funnier to say "millions"? But then he had already wasted that opportunity. At least the 'comrade' got some laughs.

    The 'jokes' about Hillary Clinton, then? Awww, 8 years on and he still hasn't forgotten the 3 a.m. phone call ad. 8 years on and he still feels the need to remind her that "I won"! How petty. And the "Trudge up the Hill"* and "Aunt Hillary"? Really? But then every time he mentions her, he comes across as actually ridiculing her ... 'with faint praise'. And every time it demonstrates that with friends like him she really doesn't need enemies. It's as if he and Bernie Sanders both are in a contest to give The Republicans the best ammunition ... against her.

    There was so much in that speech that rubbed me the wrong way and very little that I found funny. It was selfcentered, selfabsorbed, selfcongratulary and mean - also, saying demeaning things about people not present always seems wrong to me. But I guess that's acepted as part of the game at those dinners?

    The speech as well as the delivery in my perception was both disgraceful, inelegant and undignified. Very mean and fratboy-like and not something I either want or expect from a world leader.

    * At vox.com it is explained, how "Trudge up the Hill" was actually a dig at Bernie Sanders. But if you have to explain a 'joke' after the fact surely it missed its aim?

    [end of rant]

    I enjoyed it all (not your silly rant) (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by CoralGables on Mon May 02, 2016 at 11:10:31 AM EST
    Good for you (none / 0) (#28)
    by Nemi on Mon May 02, 2016 at 02:30:05 PM EST
    ... and fine with me.

    Nemi: The event was a ROAST, after all (none / 0) (#27)
    by christinep on Mon May 02, 2016 at 01:26:25 PM EST
    Traditionally, Roasts are edgy, satirical, and --oft times-- resemble the harshest (and most successful) cartoons.  President Obama uses the format exceptionally well, imo.

    As for the targets of Roasts: There is the story, of course, of the President's availing himself of the opportunity to target the well-known "birther" Donald Trump a few years back as the Correspondents Dinner with some zingers.  Some people relayed how Trump appeared offended and left as soon as possible after that segment ... while it is reported that Trump may not have found it funny, lots of others did.  (From the replay, he really got-his-man with his style of humor.  IMO.)


    Guess we'll just have to (none / 0) (#29)
    by Nemi on Mon May 02, 2016 at 02:40:53 PM EST
    agree to disagree on how well Obama does comedy. Without being disagreeable, I'm quite sure. :)

    From another media: The Guardian had chosen to write about Obama's speech under this headline: Barack Obama in surprise swipe at Clinton at final correspondents' dinner even though the greater part of the article is about his 'swipe' at Donald Trump. No doubt in an effort to pander to their anti-Hillary readership and commenters.

    But to my surprise the comments are actually more focused on Obama and discussing his presidency in what seems like equal numbers of positive and critical comments. There's close to 2,000 comments so of course I've only read a fraction but still a nice surprise, and an interesting debate.


    A sense of humor (none / 0) (#23)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 02, 2016 at 08:40:48 AM EST
    Is a great gift.  I'm glad I have one.  And I'm glad the president has one.  He certainly needs it.

    Willmore's Last Two Lines (none / 0) (#25)
    by NycNate on Mon May 02, 2016 at 12:25:36 PM EST
    ruined the entire monologue.  It says a lot about America.  We have a President grinning and chest bumping after being called that.  The clip of someone that many looked up to responding to such gutter language was cringeworthy.

    Gutter language (none / 0) (#26)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 02, 2016 at 12:48:49 PM EST
    Are you for real?

    Prepare the fainting couch (none / 0) (#31)
    by chrisvee on Mon May 02, 2016 at 08:42:39 PM EST
    And pass the smelling salts. Meanwhile I read that FoxNews had to close comments on the article about Malia Obama's acceptance to Harvard due to the vileness of the content.