WHCA Dinner: With Obama and Kimmel Deliver Lots of Bite and a Little Bark

President Obama and Jimmy Kimmel pulled off what I would call a B+ at the White House Correspondents Assn. dinner tonight. It didn’t quite have the zingers of last year, but there were more than enough one-liners that stood out. They both joked about the Secret Service, the GSA and Newt Gingrich. If there was a subject that they each couldn’t resist coming back to again and again, it was dogs.

Obama once again proved how adept he was at timing and delivery. He actually was in the better position, preceding the professional comic and therefore having the freshest material. He was biting but not mean-spirited, and made several jokes that at once were at his own expense and mocked the campaign focus on silly stories, like his admission of eating dog meat when he was a child.

Some of the stand outs:

Talking about Sarah Palin, he said, “What is the difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull? A pitbull is delicious.” The quip got an extended laughs — and a few oooohs.

On Mitt Romney: “We both have degrees from Harvard. I have one. He has two. What a snob!” Rick Santorum, in the audience, gave Obama a thumbs up.

“Here we are in this vast magnificent Hilton ballroom, what Mitt Romney would call a fixer upper.”

“In my first term I ended the policy known as ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ In my second term we will replace it with a policy known as ‘It’s raining men.'”

On Kimmel: “Jimmy got his start on ‘The Man Show.’ In Washington that is what we call a congressional hearing on contraception.”

On ‘slow-jamming’ the news with Jimmy Fallon: Mitt Romney “asked his staff if he could get equal time — on ‘The Merv Griffin Show.'”

Kimmel’s regular guy delivery worked, even if some of his jokes did not. He went on a bit long, and he got in the most uncomfortable digs of the evening, jibes at New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (his weight) and Gingrich (his campaign’s bounced checks). Christie laughed, Gingrich didn’t seem so amused. His best line may have been about the event itself. Noting the presence of politicians, celebrities, the media and advertisers in the same room, he said, “Everything that is wrong with America is in this room tonight.”

Some of the stand outs:

On the growing size of the WHCA event: “The president wanted to move it to the Kennedy Center, and the Republicans wanted to keep it at the Hilton. They compromised so here we are at the Hilton.”

On Obama’s last campaign: “Remember when the country rallied around you in the hopes of a better tomorrow? That was hilarious. Your best one yet.”

On the presence of the dog from “The Artist”: “Uggie is amazing. He can roll over on command. He is a Democrat.”

On the presence of Sully Sullenberger and Lindsay Lohan: “Sully, would you do us a favor? Would you mind driving Lindsay Lohan home?”

On Keith Olbermann’s firing: “He has more pink slips than Marcus Bachmann.”  

Video of Obama’s performance here, and Kimmel’s standup here.

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