Washington Lightens Up
The White House Correspondents’ Dinner was first established in 1920 to ensure better communication between the president and the press. Initially—and given the patriarchal nature of American society “back then”—only men were invited to attend.
Thank goodness President John F. Kennedy refused to attend in 1962 unless women were invited. Otherwise, this would have been nothing more than another Washington sausage fest… in a city still full of them, no less.
These days, the “Beltway gala” (or “nerd prom”) is used to raise money for journalism scholarships. The press and the Prez are always in attendance, but today’s event includes celebrities from Hollywood, sports, music, current events… you name it.
And it is always very entertaining. Take the event this past Saturday, which was no different and showed just how humorous our sitting president can be.
Being President of the United States is hard enough, but doing so without a sense of humor is even harder—just ask Gerald Ford, even though he only endured it (and us him) for a limited time. Fortunately, the same cannot be said for President Barack Obama, whose own brand of humor resembles mine in that it tosses the appropriate zingers but focuses primarily on self-targeted joking and self-inflicted wounding.
Check out some of the things he had to say.
ON HIS APPEARANCE: “These days I look in the mirror and I gotta admit: I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be.”
ON THE SEQUESTER: “Republicans fell in love with this thing. And now they can’t stop talking about how much they hate it—it’s like we’re trapped in a Taylor Swift album.”
ON THE HISTORY CHANNEL BEING ABSENT FROM THE DINNER AFTER THE DEPICTION OF SATAN IN “THE BIBLE” WAS SAID TO RESEMBLE THE PRESIDENT: “That never kept Fox News from showing up—they actually thought the comparison was not fair to Satan.”
ON CNN: Obama said that he admired their “commitment to cover all sides of the story, just in case one of them happens to be accurate.”
ON HIS REMARK THAT KAMALA HARRIS WAS THE COUNTRY’S “BEST-LOOKING ATTORNEY GENERAL”: “As you might imagine, I got in trouble when I got back home. Who knew (Attorney General) Eric Holder was so sensitive?”
Of course, the President wasn’t the only person who got in on the act. Comedian Conan O’Brien reprised his 1995 role as host and promised guests “two minutes of jokes, then 40 minutes on public employee pension reform.” And actor Kevin Spacey delighted the crowd with a spoof clip of his show House of Cards, only this was called House of Nerds.
The clip claims to be “secret footage” of how the Correspondents’ Dinner is planned and includes Spacey as his Majority Whip character from the show, Frank Underwood. It is hilarious and I strongly urge you to view it HERE.
All in all, Saturday was a good night in Washington because people lightened up, forgot about their political agendas and power trips, and spent some time laughing at each other. Famous people abounded, including John Legend, Sofia Vergara, Psy (even though I hate that song and dance… you know the one), Katy Perry, Matthew Perry (no relation) and Claire Danes, who stars in one of President Obama’s favorite shows, Homeland. And during a difficult time in our nation’s history—one that includes terrorism, natural disasters and other tragedies—this event reminded us all of one very important thing:
Sometimes you just have to stop and laugh. And sometimes, that’s all you can do.
Posted on April 28, 2013, in Perspectives and tagged Barack Obama, commentary, current-events, funny, History, humor, Kevin Spacey, news, perspectives, United States, White House Correspondents Dinner. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.