Backtracking a bit: on Tuesday, we discussed the best dressed of the Met Gala, AKA Fashion Prom. But let’s not forget that Saturday was the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, AKA Nerd Prom, full of almost as many wonderful outfits. (Note: it’s also my annual check on whether I can still spell the word ‘correspondents,’ which got me booted from a spelling bee in the fourth grade.) Let’s see how those nerds (read: fabulous and powerful Hollywood and political elite) cleaned up! In no particular order…
Over the weekend, President Obama gave his very last White House Correspondents’ Dinner speech, and he ended it with the best way possible.
Republican or Democrat, I think most of us can agree that he is one of the only presidents with enviable comedic timing. With each of his WHCD speeches, he proved that he can tell a joke and tell it well, and often better than the chosen comedian to speak after him. I looked forward to his Nerd Prom roasts every year, but since we won’t be blessed with his comedy (at least in the White House setting) anymore, at least we have eight speeches to look back on if we ever need a good laugh in the future. Here are some of his best jokes from President Obama’s WHCD speeches over the years.
“While in England, I did have lunch with the Queen, took in a performance of Shakespeare, hit the links with David Cameron. Just in case anybody is still debating whether I’m black enough, I think that settles the debate.”
To Bernie Sanders in the audience: “I’m disappointed you’re distancing yourself from me. That’s just not something you do to your comrade.”
“Last week, Prince George showed up to a meeting in his bathrobe. That was a slap in the face. A clear breach of protocol.”
“I don’t want to spend too much time on the Donald. Following your lead, I want to show some restraint. Because from the start, I think he’s received the right amount of coverage, fitting the seriousness of his campaign. I hope you’re all proud of yourselves. The guy wanted to give his hotel business a boost, and now we’re praying that Cleveland makes it through July.”
On Jeb Bush mistakenly marking “Hispanic” on a form: “Look, it’s an honest mistake – reminds me of when I identified myself as American back in 1961.”
“Rick Santorum announced that he would not attend a gay or lesbian wedding of one of his friends or loved ones, to which gay people responded, ‘That’s not going to be a problem.'”
“And Donald Trump is here. Still.”
“Hillary kicked things off by going completely unrecognized at a Chipotle. Not to be outdone, Martin O’Malley went completely unrecognized at a Martin O’Malley campaign event.”
“Those Joe Biden shoulder massages, they’re like magic. You should try one. Oh, you have?”
Everything about Keegan-Michael Key as Obama’s “Anger Translator”. Barack will not break. It is amazing.
Everything about the cold open with Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer with Joe Biden
“In 2008 my slogan was, ‘Yes we can,’ in 2013, my slogan was Control, Alt, Delete.”
“Let’s face it, Fox, you’ll miss me when I’m gone. It’ll be harder to convince the American people that Hillary was born in Kenya.”
“How well does ObamaCare have to work before people don’t want to repeal it. What if everyone’s cholesterol drops to 120? What if your yearly check up came with tickets to a Clippers game? Not the old Don Sterling Clippers, the new Oprah Clippers! Would that be good enough? What if it gave Mitch McConnell a pulse?”
“I did notice, Sasha needed a speaker at Career Day. She invited Bill Clinton. I was a little hurt by that.”
“Republicans continue to refuse to extend unemployment insurance. You know what, I am beginning to think that they’ve got a point. If you want to get paid while not working, you should have to run for Congress just like everybody else.”
“These days, the House Republicans give John Boehner a harder time than me, which means that orange really is the new black.”
After DJ Khaled’s All I Do is Win plays as Obama walks to the podium. “How do you like my new entrance music? Rush Limbaugh warned you about this – second term, baby… My advisers were a little worried about the new rap entrance music. They are a little more traditional. They suggested that I should start with jokes at my own expense. Just take myself down a peg. I was like, guys after four and a half years how many pegs are there left?”
“Now, look, I get it. These days, I look in the mirror and I have to admit, I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be. Time passes. You get a little gray.”
“I know republicans are still sorting out what happened in 2012. One thing they all agree on is that they need to do a better job reach out to minorities. Call me self centered, but I can think of one minority they can start with. *raises hand* Think of me as a trial run. See how it goes.
“Some folks still don’t think I spend enough time with Congress. ‘Why don’t you get a drink with Mitch McConnell?’ they ask. Really? Why don’t you get a drink with Mitch McConnell?”
“I remember when BuzzFeed was just something I did in college around 2 a.m.”
That time Beyonce & Jay went to Cuba pre Obama easing Cuban/U.S. relations: “Maybe I have lost a step, but some things are beyond my control. For example this whole controversy about Jay Z going to Cuba. It’s unbelievable. I’ve got 99 problems and now Jay Z is one of them.”
“One senator who has reached across the aisle recently is Marco Rubio. But I don’t know about 2016 – I mean the guy hasn’t even finished a single term in the senate and he thinks he’s ready to be president.”
“I want to especially thank all the members who took a break from their exhausting schedule of not passing any laws to be here tonight.”
“(WHCD host) Jimmy (Kimmel) got his start years ago on ‘The Man Show.’ In Washington, that’s what we call a congressional hearing on contraception.”
“In my first term, we passed health care reform. In my second term, I guess I’ll pass it again.”… In my first term, I sang Al Green; in my second term, I’m going with Young Jeezy. I sing that to her (Michelle) sometimes.”
“Four years ago I was locked in a primary battle with Hillary Clinton. Now she won’t stop drunk-texting me from Cartagena.”
“What a week. As some of you heard the state of Hawaii released my official long-form birth certificate. Hopefully, this puts all doubts to rest. But just in case they’re any lingering questions, tonight I’m prepared to go a step further. Tonight, for the first time, I am releasing my official birth video. *see birth video here* I want to make clear to the Fox News table that was a joke. That was not my real birth video. That was a children’s cartoon. Call Disney if you don’t believe me, they have the original long-form version.”
Obama drags Trump STILL: “Now, I know that he’s taken some flak lately but no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than The Donald. And that’s because he can finally get back to 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 know about your credentials, and your breadth of experience. For example, on a recent episode of Celebrity Apprentice, at the steakhouse, the men’s cooking team did not impress the men from Omaha Steaks. There was lots of blame to go around, but you, Mr. Trump, recognized that the real problem was a lack of leadership. Ultimately, you didn’t blame Lil Jon or Meatloaf, you fired Gary Busey. These are the kinds of decisions that keep me up at night. Well handled, sir! Well handled.”
The President’s Speech trailer (Michelle: Hey, look Sam, there’s a carrot!)
Bonus joke from host Seth Meyers (the best one, TBH): “Trump has said he’s got a great relationship with ‘the blacks.’ Unless the Blacks are a family of white people, I bet he’s mistaken.”
ANOTHER BONUS: This was also the year (night) Barry had secretly ordered Osama Bin Laden to be killed, read more about it here
Remember Jay Leno? “The only person whose ratings fell more than mine last year is here tonight. It is Jay.”
“You might have heard we passed a health care bill and some Republicans have suggested that the bill contains a few secret provisions. That’s ridiculous. There aren’t a few secret provisions in the health care plan - there are, like, hundreds.”
“I wasn’t sure that I should actually come tonight. Biden talked me into it. He leaned over and he said, ‘Mr. President this is no ordinary dinner. This is a big fucking meal.” JIC you forgot what that was in reference to.
“I had an entire speech prepared for this wonderful occasion. Now that we’re here I want to try something different. I’m gonna speak from the heart. I’m gonna speak off the cuff. *telepromopter stands rise* Good evening. Pause for laughter.” (lit’rally his first ever lines from the WHCD)
“Mother’s Day is a tough holiday for Rahm Emmanuel, because he’s not used to saying the word “Day” after “Mother”… That’s true.”
“All our jokes tonight are brought to you by Goldman Sachs. They make money whether you laugh or not.”
“All this change hasn’t been easy. Change never is. So I’ve cut the tension by bringing a new friend to the White House. He’s warm, he’s cuddly, loyal, enthusiastic. You just have to keep him on a tight leash. Every once in a while he goes charging off in the wrong direction and gets himself into trouble. But enough about Joe Biden.”
“In the next hundred days, our bipartisan outreach will be so successful that even John Boehner will consider becoming a Democrat. After all, we have a lot in common. He is a person of color. Although not a color that appears in the natural world. What’s up, John?”
When Hillary Clinton officially announced her candidacy, I was 97% excited and 3% bummed. That 3% was because I knew that from this point onward, we were in for journalistic masterpieces like Pantsuit Watch 2016. At this weekend’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner, Cecily Strong solved that problem once and for all:
It should go without saying that a public figure’s appearance is not news – unless she makes it news. One time when that happens is on the red carpet: part of the deal is that celebrities help promote their designers by mentioning who they’re wearing. We’ll be the first to admit that there’s a home for fashion commentary online – we love outfits so much that we have a post category called Outfit Girl, after all. But what would it look like if journalists paid the barest attention to fashion – just the facts – then switched over to the stuff that really matters? Let’s try it out with the top looks from the White House Correspondent’s dinner.
Michelle Obama is a Harvard-educated lawyer wearing a metallic silver dress by Zac Posen. Her Let’s Move! campaign endeavors to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic in the U.S. by promoting exercise and a healthy diet. She has publicly backed economic stimulus packages, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay act, and LGBT equality, and has made a number of diplomatic trips in the capacity of First Lady. It is an unpaid position, and her hair looks awesome curly.
Cecily Strong made her SNL debut at the age of 28, and quickly gained popularity for her off-the-wall characters like the Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started A Conversation With At A Party. Strong has a BFA in fine arts from CalArts and will be a Ghostbuster next year. This year she served as host of the White House Correspondent’s Dinner, and her appearance was so hilarious that you should just watch the whole thing here. You can locate the funniest jokes by finding which ones nobody laughs at because they’re not sure if they’re allowed to. Here she is in a black and purple gown by J.Mendel and some strong eye makeup, mere hours before absolutely killing it in front of Washington and Hollywood elite.
Gina Rodriguez is the Golden Globe-winning star of Jane The Virgin, and she used her Globes acceptance speech to express thanks to the Latino community and call out the need for more, and more varied, representation of Latinos in the media. Rodriguez said “This award is so much more than myself, it represents a culture that wants to see themselves as heroes […] My father used to tell me to say every morning, ‘Today is going to be a great day. I can and I will.’ Well, Dad — Today is a great day. I can and I did.” At the White House Correspondents’ dinner, Rodriguez wore a rose-colored Gustav Cadile gown.
Idina Menzel is a Tony-winning actress who has also appeared on film and in television, but you may know her best as the voice of Elsa in Frozen … or as Maureen from Rent or Elphaba from Wicked; I guess that depends on your demographic. In addition to her impressive list of stage credits, Menzel created the A BroaderWay Foundation with then-husband Taye Diggs to support disadvantaged youth in the arts. At the WHCD, Menzel sported blonder-than-usual hair, perfect for her upcoming summer-long world tour. She wore a Monique Lhuillier gown; clutch is by Judith Leiber and jewels are by Jacob & Co.
Lucy Liu, an actress known for her roles in Ally McBeal, Southland and Elementary, is also an accomplished visual artist who is fluent in Mandarin. Liu has worked to spread knowledge about human trafficking, as well as serving as a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign. Here she is discussing the importance of representation in television:
Also, that sparkly gown is to die for.
This sequin gown by Donna Karan is reminiscent of Jane Fonda’s costumes in her breakout role in the 1968 film Barbarella. Since then, Fonda has won two Oscars and built an exercise video empire which – speaking of outfits – popularized that 80s aerobic gear that looks like nothing so much as a full-body wedgie. After sparking controversy for opposing the Vietnam War and supporting the Black Panthers, Fonda’s activism efforts have included establishing the Jane Fonda Center for Adolescent Reproductive Health at Emory University and participating in anti-Iraq War protests.
It’s been a rough couple months for Ashley Judd on the internet, so first something positive: she looks fantastic in this Badgley Mischka gown. Missed the online controversy? After posting some rather innocuous tweets in support of her alma mater’s basketball team – the Kentucky Wildcats – Judd faced a deluge of vulgar and threatening messages from mean-spirited trolls. As people who write stuff on the internet, we wouldn’t wish this kind of attack on anybody. However, Judd has spoken out on the inadequacies of platforms like Twitter in dealing with threats, sparking a discussion of how scary and upsetting online bullying can be – and this high-profile commentary just might help change things for the better. This isn’t the only cause Judd supports: she is on the board of directors of YouthAIDS and the Leadership Council of the International Center for Research on Women.
On Friday Night Lights, Connie Britton played the fantastic Tami Taylor, my favorite Texan I’m not related to. In real life, Britton is a Dartmouth grad with a resume including television (FNL, Nashville), theater, and film. Outside of her day job, she is a goodwill ambassador with the United Nations Development Programme. Gown by Halston Heritage.
If you don’t know who Laverne Cox is, that means you haven’t seen Orange Is The New Black – so first things first, queue it up on Netflix and you won’t regret it. Cox, a graduate of Marymount Manhattan College, was the first openly transgender person to be nominated for an acting Emmy. She has participated in a number of interviews and documentaries to promote understanding and dispel misconceptions about trans people, and speaking of visibility, will you look at her in this silver Ines Di Santo gown?
Barack Obama, best known as the President Of The United States, is wearing a classic black tux with a bow tie and a flash of white pocket square. Shirt buttons are a dark contrast – mother of pearl, perhaps? – and the lapel is accessorized with a Tiny American Flag Pin. When he isn’t dazzling crowds with red-carpet panache, President Obama is expanding Americans’ access to health care through the Affordable Care Act, tackling financial reform with the passage of the Dodd-Frank act, shoring up the post-recession economy with economic stimuli, and Obama still has time to raise two teenagers and play the occasional pickup game with his Washington buds.
On Saturday, the biggest names in Hollywood and media will descend upon Washington D.C. to mix and mingle with the slightly less ‘household name-y’ politicians of the nation’s capital for the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner, or what is otherwise (lovingly) called the ‘Nerd Prom’.
While the White House Correspondents’ Association is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, the dinner itself has been around since 1944. As the years go on, the event has seemingly become more ‘Hollywood’ (much to the chagrin of critics) as the press get to invite their own guests to the dinner, which usually results in the attendance of a veritable Who’s Who in the zeitgeist.
For example this year, USA Today is hosting Taylor Schilling and Uzo Aduba of Orange is the New Black, NBC News has invited Kevin Hart and Olympic snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg, while ABC News is keeping it in the network fam with Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet and Sofia Vergara, and of course no D.C. event isn’t complete with out Darby ‘Sassy Gabby’ Stanchfield, and the POTUS & FLOTUS Tony Goldwyn and Bellamy Young.
Not to mention a comedian is hired every year to host, with the 2014 honor going to The Soup’s own Joel McHale (#SixSeasonsAndAMovie). He’s used to slamming reality TV and news hosts on his show, but will he be able to bring politics in the mix? (My answer: yes)
Over the years, talented comedians have been asked to prepare a comedic speech – usually a roast of the President and politicians – and some have proven to be better than others. Here’s a list of my favorites from the past few years – and a President for good measure.
5) 2012 – Jimmy Kimmel
“If you told me when I was a kid I would be standing on a dais with President Barack Obama, I would have said, ‘The president’s name is Barack Obama?'”
“Remember when the country rallied around you in hopes of a better tomorrow? That was hilarious.”
To New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie: “I think you’re misunderstanding New Jersey’s slogan. It’s not the Olive Garden state.”
“Where are the CNN tables? Are the CNN tables real tables or virtual tables?”
4) and 3) 2011 & 2013 – Barack Obama
Because the President gets to crack his own jokes too. And Obama has been the absolute best.
2011 aka The One with Uncomfortable Donald Trump in the Audience
Basically all of the Donald Trump part.
2013 aka The One Where We Realized Barry O Had Better Comic Timing and Delivery Than A Lot Of Actors in Hollywood
“This whole controversy about Jay Z going to Cuba. I got 99 Problems, and Jay Z is one of them. That’s another rap reference, Bill (O’Reilly).”
“The sequester… the Republicans fell in love with this thing. And now they can’t stop talking about how much they hate it. It’s like we’re trapped in a Taylor Swift album.”
“I remember when Buzzfeed was just something I did in college after 2am.”
On not being on the cover of magazines lately, while Michelle graced the cover of Vogue: “I guess I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be.”
“I’m also hard at work for plans on THE Obama Library, and some have suggested I put it in my birthplace, but I’d rather keep it in the United States.”
2) 2006 – Stephen Colbert
Ah, yes. The most controversial WHCD speech to date. Stephen Colbert went up as “Stephen Colbert” and basically shut down George W. Bush … to his face. Some fans of Bush even left the event because Colbert’s cutting remarks. But hey, who’s got the last laugh now?
“I stand by this man. I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message, that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound—with the most powerfully staged photo ops in the world.”
1) 2011 – Seth Meyers
The WHCD was made for Seth Meyers. He’s intelligent, knowledgable and able to pull off a joke without being rude. I mean this is a guy who had been the anchor on SNL’s Weekend Update for years, and he knows some of the best writers in the biz. Get them all together and you have a speech of Fey/Poehler Golden Globes-like proportions. And the best host of the dinner by far.
“This event tonight has grown past Washington and many Hollywood celebrities are also here tonight. John Hamm is here. Yea. John Hamm looks the way every Republican thinks they look. Zach Galifianakis is also here. Zach Galifianakis looks the way Republicans think every Democrat looks.”
“Let’s start with Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney wrote a book titled “No Apologies.” No apologies? When you have to proclaim ‘no apologies’ isn’t that a tacit admission you’ve made a lot of mistakes? If I come home from a trip to Vegas and the first thing I say to my girlfriend is ‘no apologies’, we’re going to have a follow-up conversation.”
“Donald Trump has been saying he will run for President as a Republican, which is surprising since I just assumed he was running as a joke… Donald Trump said recently he has a great relationship with the blacks, but unless the blacks are a family of white people I bet he is mistaken.”
“The President and Joe Biden were not invited to the Royal Wedding and when Biden found out he immediately said to the President: ‘you, me, Wedding Crashers 2.’ I’ll book us two Amtrak tickets to London. The Vice-President loves the trains. And I assume it must have been hard for the President to tell Biden the new budget cut $1.5 Billion from high speed rail. ‘Joe, come on in, take off your Engineer’s cap. I have some bad news about the Choo-choos.’ As he broke the news, one of the straps on Joe’s overalls, sadly drooped off his shoulder.”