Comedian Wanda Sykes was killing 'em this weekend at the annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner. The dinner, the first attended by Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, upped the glitz factor significantly in otherwise buttoned-up Washington (hence the nickname folks here employed: "Nerd Prom.") And it was a strange sight indeed: Administration officials like Attorney General Eric Holder, senior White House advisr Valerie Jarrett and chief of staff Rahm Emanuel mingled with Washington's journalistic heavy-hitters, and A- (and some C-) list entertainers like Demi Moore, Natalie Portman, and Steven Spielberg. At the event, held at the Washington Hilton, everyone looked very nice, and no one seemed to mind how strange it all looks to the outside observer.
Nerd prom was put on the map after Steven Colbert offered a scathing roast of former president George W. Bush at the 2006 dinner. Sykes didn't disappoint fans looking for something edgy:
I caught up with a very gracious Sykes at one of the many after-dinner parties, and she 1) apologized for not making a Marion Barry joke, and 2) said she was glad to be back in DC, where she apparently started her career doing stand-up.
At the dinner, she went fairly easy on the first black president ("Unless he screws up," she said. "Then it's going to be: 'What's up with the half-white guy?"), and saved her fire for GOPers Michael Steele (as did Obama, in his equally funny after-dinner remarks), Fox News' Sean Hannity, and Rush Limbaugh. The line of the night for me was when Sykes noted how Alaska Governor and former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin had canceled. "She pulled out at the last minute," she said. "Somebody should tell her that's not really how you practice abstinence."
Covers the White House and Washington for The Root. Follow her on Twitter.