Here’s the full video of President Barack Obama’s comedy routine at the 2011 White House Correspondent’s dinner. The parts that are getting the most buzz is his satire video using The Lion King, his pointed references to the implosion of the birther issue in both jokes and graphics and his pointed barbs aimed at Donald Trump who was in the audience as a guest of the Washington Post (a controversial move on the part of the Post).
To use comedy language that is now taboo in politics, Obama “killed” from the start with his line: “My fellow Americans..” with a notably strong emphasis on “fellow.”
On Trump, The Caucus notes these highlights and how Trump reacted:
As a hair-gelled, grimly unsmiling Mr. Trump sat at a nearby table — a guest of the Washington Post — Mr. Obama ripped one punch after another at the real estate tycoon.
“Donald Trump is here tonight,” the comedian in chief said, grinning. “Now, I know that he’s taken some flak lately, but no one is prouder to put this birth certificate to rest than The Donald. Now he can get to focusing on the issues that matter. Like, did we fake the moon landing? What really happened at Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?”
It was almost painful to watch, the juxtaposition of the president, flexing his new post-birther comedy chops, and the real estate mogul-cum-politician, grimacing at his table as Mr. Obama basked in his post-long-form-birth-certificate glow.
“All kidding aside, we all know about your credentials and experience,” Mr. Obama said, as people in the room either chortled or grimaced nervously, all depending on their proximity to Mr. Trump.
In “Celebrity Apprentice,” Mr. Obama told Mr. Trump, teeth flashing, “the men’s cooking team did not impress the judges from Omaha steaks, but you recognized that this was a lack of leadership, so you fired Gary Busey.”
“These,” Mr. Obama said, “are the kinds of decisions that would keep me up at night. Well-handled, sir. Well-handled.”
It also has a great spoof of “The King’s Speech” that involves Joe Biden.
(UPDATE) Actually, if you look closely you can see a few instances where Trump seems to be smiling or repressing a smile so he was not grim-faced throughout.
Here’s the full video:
Writes the blog Bark Bark Woof Woof:
As expected, there were lots of jokes about birthers and birth certificates, but the target of most of the jokes by the president and Seth Meyers was Donald Trump, who was in the audience at the invitation of the Washington Post. Earlier this week there was consternation among the Villagers as to why they would invite him, but it turns out it might have been planned that way just to make sure he was there.
Helen Cooper of The Caucus said it was “almost painful to watch” the president make fun of Mr. Trump as he sat stonily under his halo of hair. Actually, it was hilarious. Mr. Trump got what he richly deserved and earned, and if he or his supporters can’t take it, they should find another line of work.
Debate will continue about whether Obama has grown in office or shrunk according to original expectations. But one thing is clear: he has grown as a comedian. His initial appearances were marked by Obama chuckling at his own jokes, laughing before a punch line, and good but not perfect timing. He now has it down to an art and is a tough act to follow — which made Seth Meyers’ performance all that more impressive.
UPDATE: After re-watching Seth Meyers it needs to be said:
The White House Correspondents dinner has been the cemetary for the repuations of comedians, humorists or media types who were hired to deliver the monologue after the dinner. Some delivered remarks that scored with partisans who hated a sitting President, Some delivered routines that utterly bombed. Think Don Imus, Jay Leno, Stephen Colbert.
But in these polarized times Meyers managed to pull off a bit of a coup: he seemed to make everyone laugh. He almost looks like a 21st century version of Bob Hope in his prime, in the late 40s and late 50s. Excellent writing, excellent delivery and — unlike some of the past who had his slot — no signs of nervousness or flop sweat. Note that he dismisses jokes that don’t quite work with an amused chuckle or a graceful “saver.”
We’ve run a link to the video of Meyers but here is the full embed of his routine:
Some highlights from his monologue (which was particularly brutal on Trump and, later, on Obama):
“CSPAN is of course the official network for wide shots of empty chairs. … CSPAN is one unpaid electric bill away from being a radio station.”
“Sen. Jon Kyl told me 90 percent of what [the White House Correspondents Association] does is abortions.”
“You know how you know I’m not in New York? In New York, no one is excited to go to a Bloomberg party. In New York, a Bloomberg party is five people standing outside of a bar complaining about Bloomberg.”
“Katie [Couric] was known best for asking those tough questions, like ‘Name a newspaper.’”
“Jon Hamm looks the way every Republican thinks he looks. Zach Galifianakis looks the way every Republican thinks every Democrat looks.”
“Donald Trump has said he’s running for president as a Republican — which is surprising because I thought he was running as a joke. “
“Donald Trump owns the Miss USA pageant, which is great for Republicans because it will streamline their search for a vice president.”
To President Obama: “I’ll tell you who could beat you: 2008 Barack Obama. You would have loved him.”
To President Obama: “If your hair gets any whiter, the tea party is going to endorse it.”
On House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan: “He believes the American people have said loud and clear: Stop using my tax dollars to take care of me!”
UPDATE: Donald Trump was booed upon arrival:
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.