In six years, Barack Obama and Seth Meyers may want to consider teaming up for a comedy tour. Sparing nobody in their routines, the president and the Saturday Night Live head writer killed at Saturday’s White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. Both bits had a particular emphasis on ridiculing guest Donald Trump, the birther icon and “presidential hopeful” who sat unsmiling in his seat as the rest of us exploded in laughter.
“Now, I know that he’s taken some flak lately, but no one is happier or prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than the Donald,” Obama said. “That’s because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter. Like, did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?”
Another joke from the comedian-in-chief included:
“All kidding aside, we all know about your credentials and breadth of experience. For example, just recently in an episode of Celebrity Apprentice, the men’s cooking team did not impress the judges from Omaha Steaks. … But you, Mr. Trump, recognized that the real problem was a lack of leadership. And so ultimately, you didn’t blame Lil’ Jon or Meatloaf. You fired Gary Busey. And these are the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night. Well handled, sir. Well handled.”
Following all the bafflement and anger over the release of Obama’s long form birth certificate earlier in the week, the president’s light-hearted but incisive jabs, and Trump’s tight-lipped reaction, were highlights at one of the biggest social events in the nation’s capital.
The annual extravaganza always feels a little bizarre with its somewhat random collection of Washington journalists, government officials and Hollywood stars. But while years past have been on the staid side, everyone gussied up but self-conscious and not quite enjoying it, Saturday’s dinner was a great time.
During the pre-dinner cocktail receptions in suites throughout the Washington Hilton Hotel, I brushed by General Colin Powell and his fellow former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Mila Kunis, Russell Simmons, Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel, Cee Lo Green, Jeremy Piven, New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony and his wife Lala Vasquez, John Legend, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, Mindy Kaling, Matthew Morrison, Gayle King and Steve Buscemi. Also in the house were Scarlett Johansson, Sean Penn, will.i.am, Rosario Dawson, Elizabeth Banks, NFL players Terrell Owens and Tony Romo, and Zach Galifinakis.
Proceeds from the dinner, by the way, help finance college scholarships for Washington, D.C. journalism students. First Lady Michelle Obama handed the students, including three from Howard University, their awards during the event.
President Obama ended his remarks on a serious note, acknowledging the real danger that journalists face covering natural disasters like the recent storms in the southeast, and the revolutions in the Middle East where journalists have been arrested, beaten, attacked, and even killed.
“I want to remember those that have been lost as a consequence of the extraordinary reporting that they’ve done over recent weeks,” he said. “They help, too, to defend our freedoms and allow democracy to flourish.”