Cecily Strong of “Saturday Night Live,” this year’s featured entertainment at the White House Correspondents Assn. dinner, actually had a semi-serious moment that reflected her role as one of the few women to have the gig.
She asked the media in the room to “solemnly swear not to talk about Hillary’s appearance because that is not journalism.” Then Strong quipped that they should also say, “Cecily looks great tonight.”
Strong, 31, was less biting than last year’s entertainer, Joel McHale. In interviews before the dinner, she said that she wanted to deliver a few zingers but by and large play to her sillier instincts.
Her sharpest quip was perhaps one aimed at the troubles with the Secret Service and the protests over police treatment of black suspects.
“The Secret Service — the only law enforcement agency that would get in trouble if a black man gets shot,” she said, to some audience ooohs.
Another was directed at Obama’s graying hair: “Your hair is so white now, you can talk back to the police.”
Ironically, Baltimore TV stations were broadcasting live on Saturday night with coverage of protests in downtown over the recent death of an African American man, Freddie Gray, in police custody.
Strong is one of the few women to have been the featured entertainer at the dinner, the last being Wanda Sykes in 2009.
Like Obama, she skewered the media, with jokes about the dire state of print journalism and the sensationalism of cable news.
“Fox News has been losing a lot of viewers recently, and may they rest in peace,” she said.
She also alluded to controversy at her own network. “And what can I say about Brian Williams. Nothing, because I work for NBC.”
She also made several jokes about the venue.
“It is great to be here at the Washington Hilton,” she said. “It’s something a congressman might say to a prostitute.”
Strong also skewered former Rep. Aaron Schock’s legal troubles and the Republican presidential field, and she made light of her preference for Hillary Clinton in 2016. She did, however, make a jab at one of Clinton’s early campaign controversies.
“Our relationship with Israel will be great in the next administration. Just as soon as Israel makes a generous donation to the Clinton Foundation.”
She began her routine by noting how she has the tough assignment of coming on after the president, again with a reference to Clinton. “It feels right to have a woman following President Obama, doesn’t it?”