UPDATE: Tonight Saturday Night Live head writer and Weekend Update anchor Seth Meyers entertained at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner – that annual media-politics-showbiz schmoozefest in Washington DC. I’ve been to the White House Correspondents Dinner, and, if history is any judge, then comedians asked to perform there seem to do best when they joke with gentle jibes rather than go for the jugular. Meyers met that criteria and more: he kept his targets bipartisan during the prestigious gig. This was Meyers’ first time hosting and he had to compete with President Obama who utilizes some very good joke writers. (Clients of WME? Because of the Rahm/Ari Emanuel connection?) Meyers started out flat because most of his news-based jokes seemed too cerebral for the crowd whose intellects were obviously overestimated. But then Seth began to score, and score, and score, by tweaking his bosses at Comcast/NBCUniversal and skewering Hollywood and thumping Donald Trump.
So did President Obama, who landed some very pointed shots at both The Donald and Matt Damon after taking it on the chin from them in recent weeks. Obama noted that “Matt Damon said the other day that he was disappointed in my performance. Well, Matt, I just saw The Adjustment Bureau…” Obama then proceeded to make fun of The Donald and his birth certificate rants “focusing on the issues that matter: Like did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac? All kidding aside, we all obviously know about your credentials and experience.” Obama noted how, in the recent Celebrity Apprentice episode’s cooking contest, Trump decided the men’s team suffered a “lack of leadership. So you fired Gary Busey. And these are the kinds of decisions that would keep me up at night. Well handled, sir. Well handled.” The Donald who was sitting in the audience at The Washington Post table managed a weak smile. So much for the accuracy of Trump’s pre-dinner prediction that Obama wouldn’t dare take him on tonight.
6:30 PM: Among the Hollywood celebs spotted were Gleek’s Chris Colfer, Jane Lynch, and Matthew Morrison, Sean Penn, Mira Sorvino, Paula Abdul, Elizabeth Banks, Amy Poehler, Jeremy Piven, Anna Paquin, Ce Lo Green, David and Patricia Arquette, Mila Kunis, Scarlett Johansson, Jon Hamm, Andy Samberg, Alyssa Milano, Joan Rivers, Morgan Fairchild, Brooke Burke, Rosario Dawson, America Ferrerra, Chace Crawford, and Steve Buscemi. The program began with a taped bit of Obama and the First Lady asking everyone to sit down repeatedly in different situations. Obama was intro’ed by a short film that prominently featured the Hawaii birth certificate he unveiled this week, accompanied by music lyrics, “I am a real American. Fight for what’s right.”
“My fellow Americans,” he greeted the guests. “What a week. as some of you heard the state of hawaii released my official longform birth certificate, hopefully this puts all doubts to rest, but just in case there are any lingering questions, i am prepeared my to release my official borth video. Cameras panning to Donald Trump who’s poker-faced. “No one has seen this footage in 50 years, not even me.” What followed was a scene from The Lion King of the cub being born. Get it? Africa? “I want to make clear to the Fox News table that was a joke. Call Disney if you dont believe me. They have the original long-form version.”
Obama welcomed Seth Meyers by name. “He’s a young fresh face who can do no wrong in the eyes of his fans. Seth, enjoy it as long as it lasts. It’s safe to say that when it comes to my presidency, the honeymoon is over.”
Obama noted that Hollywood star “Matt Damon said the other day that he was disappointed in my performance. Well, Matt, I just saw The Adjustment Bureau…”
Obama then proceeded to make fun of The Donald and his “focusing on the issues that matter: Like did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupak? All kidding aside, we all obviously know about your credentials and experience.” Obama noted how, in the recent Celebrity Apprentice episode’s Omaha Steak competition, Trump decided the men’s cooking team suffered a “lack of leadership. So you fired Gary Busey. And these are the kinds of decisions that would keep me up at night. Well handled, sir. Well handled.” The Donald managed a weak smile.
Obama continued, “Say what you will about Mr. Trump, he would certainly bring some change to the White House”. Behind the president, there’s a video screen capture of “Trump: The White House” signage.
Next Obama said he was inspired by this year’s Best Picture Oscar winner, The King’s Speech, which he called a “wonderful film”. He then disclosed there is a sequel in the works, and “since this is a Hollywood crowd” a taped bit started about the GOP’s attempt to “eliminate funding for the president’s teleprompter”. It turned into an Obama blooper reel. Then it turned into a Biden blooper reel (in which Natalie Portman got a shout-out). “The President’s Speech… Coming to a theater near you.”
After a few heartfelt remarks, Obama sat down and Seth Meyers took the podium. Two years ago, Wanda Sykes was more political than funny attacking Republicans during the dinner. Then the WHCA wanted a blander and therefore safer comic emcee (so C-Span wouldn’t have to use its 7-second delay button) and chose Jay Leno last year. He gave everyone a snoozefest. Meyers was like a jolt of caffeine tonight.