Frank Sinatra, Yakov Smirnoff, Chevy Chase, Conan O’brien, Ray Ramano, Craig Ferguson, Drew Carey, Stephen Colbert and Wanda Sykes are all exceptional entertainers who, aside from being well versed in the subtle points and prose of comedy, have, since its inception in 1945, been the principle entertainers at the annual White House Correspondents Dinner. Their monologues generally shed light on many of the grossly over-reported stories concerning the current administration’s woes and victories, follies and shortcomings and other general absurdities. Though the President always has a speech, peppered with pre-written jokes, from the ones that I have viewed, most notably the performances during the Bush administration, the President seems disingenuous, awkward and exhibits a bit of malaise through the whole ordeal.
This year I was pleasantly surprised. The rampant Obama fanaticism almost set him up for failiure; I mean the man can’t also be a comedian…but damn’t…he was, and he was enjoying it, pausing frequently to chuckle. Throughout Obama’s monologue, the President often poked fun at himself and his supporters, opening with the comment that the entire WHCA voted for him. He also frequently made fun of his over-use of the teleprompters as well as his wife’s fashion and the ridiculocity of the search for the White House dog.
Now some pundit’s have commented negatively on his speech, expressing distress that he may have crossed lines or told jokes that were in poor taste. All that means to me though is that the President was BEING FUNNY. If you want to appease everyone and not cause any controversy, its best to stick to jokes that you read on popsicle sticks, or in the little comics that come with Bazooka Joe Bubble Gum.
An example of where some think Obama may have gone overboard is when the President joked that Sasha and Malia were grounded for taking AirForce One for a joyride, in reference to the recent disasterous photo-op that scared half of Manhattan and had one man lose his job. Another is where Obama made fun of the Republican Rep from Ohio, John Boehner, and his ridiculous fake tan. Obama quipped that Boehner and him were both men of color, though for Boehner, “not a color that appears in the natural world.” I laughed out loud at that. I mean that is funny, and it could of been worse, I mean no one even mentioned that the man’s last name sounds exactly like a word for an erection.
And though the President’s speech contained a few stale and overplayed topics such as Fox News being biased and Dick Cheyney shooting people in the face, his final, heartfelt, well spoken and articulate remarks about the importance of journalism during the past, present and future concluded his monlogue perfectly. Overall, it was the perfect mixture of self-awareness, poignant praise and recognition, and relevenat humor.
I guess the whole point of this is that I am happy that the President is aware of and understands, nay embraces, the art of sarcasm. I am by no means obsessed with Obama nor one of the many who think he can do no wrong. Politics aside, its just nice to know the man in charge of the country has a sense of humor and a good one at that. I am a strong believer that laughter can be the best medicine, and during the darkest of times, nothing is more important than keeping your chin up, with a smile wide across your face, and it seems the President knows that.
The transcript can be found here!
And you can check out the speech in it’s entirety, here!