1. OBAMA’S ANGER TRANSLATOR, LUTHER
It may have been a dirty trick to play on Cecily Strong, but the big talker of the night came when Obama announced that, because he’s “a mellow sort of guy” he was bringing out Luther, his Anger Translator – aka, Keegan-Michael Key from Comedy Central’s Key and Peele. “Hold on to your lily-white butts,” Key/Luther warned the crowd, then began to shout Obama’s actual thoughts as Obama delivered one of his mellow-guy, platitude-filled speeches. It was not just the President of the United States doing sketch comedy, it was wickedly funny make-you-squirm comedy.
Obama: “Despite our differences, we count on the press to shed light on the most important issues of the day.”
Luther: “We can count on Fox News to terrify old white people with some nonsense: ‘Sharia law is coming to Cleveland, run for the damn hills!'”
2. JOHNNY WEIR’S TIARA
The sartorial splendor of NBC figure skating analyst Johnny Weir – including tiara/headband, furry bow-tie and short-cropped tux – earned him Best Dressed at this year’s Nerd Prom.
3. OBAMA’S BUCKET LIST
Obama wasn’t kidding when he said being a lame duck was great. His WHCD speech was pretty fearless, from “I look so old, John Boehner‘s already invited (Benjamin) Netanyahu to speak at my funeral,” to “The Koch brothers think they need to spend a billion dollars to get folks to like one of these” 2016 GOP presidential candidates. Of his own fundraising prowess, “I raised a lot … but my middle name is Hussein,” and of his relationship with VPOTUS Joe Biden, “We’ve gotten so close, in some places in Indiana, they won’t serve us pizza anymore.” Obame went on to say, “I am determined to make the most of every moment I have left. After the midterm elections, advisers asked, ‘Do you have a bucket list?” I have something that rhymes with ‘Bucket List:’ ‘Executive action on immigration? Bucket!’ ‘New climate regulations? Bucket! It’s the right thing to do.'”
4. MICHELLE OBAMA’S HAIR
In the double-take moment of the night, the First Lady came on stage with a new hairdo – a pile of curls so big it nearly overshadowed her face. Just last month, she’d gone on Jeopardy to promote healthy eating, with her hair pulled back so severely that speculation flew around social media she’d gone bald.
5. CECILY STRONG’S VOW
Host Cecily Strong had the impossible task of following President Obama and Luther The Anger Translator. Things didn’t look too good for our Cecily as she headed into the home stretch. But she turned things around and created A Moment when she asked all members of the media in the ballroom to raise their hands and take a solemn vow:
“I solemnly swear not to talk about Hillary’s appearance, because that is not journalism.”
C-SPAN is the only place to watch Washington’s annual Hollywood Petting Zoo. Its refreshingly disinterested live coverage leaves everything open to interpretation. That is, you can make up what you think the politicians, journalists and celebrities are saying to each other on the red carpet because the network doesn’t bother to listen, and periodically rests its eyes by swinging the camera away from a member of Hollywood’s elite to a shot of the hotel escalators. What other network would promise, “You will see every jot and tittle of the dinner from the Washington Hilton,” and follow it with, “there’s something Warhol-ian about watching people eat dinner for two hours.” Who else but C-SPAN would take the trouble to explain the menu so thoroughly: “Smoked-paprika-rubbed filet – I think that’s steak – along with Alaskan halibut, which is seared – that’s fish – and a tapas of assorted deserts, i.e., a plate full of little desserts.”
7. DON LEMON
CNN anchor Don Lemon told The Hill’s Judy Kurtz he was concerned he might be the butt of jokes at the White House Correspondents Dinner, explaining, “You never know what they’re going to say… Chew you up and spit you out, as they say.”
Getting ready for the big night, he tweeted this:
His fear/dream came true. During the dinner, Strong joked there are still lousy depictions of minorities on television. “It’s 2015, and there’s still characters like Don Lemon on TV.”