The White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner took place last night. You know, those precious few hours in which the politicians and top media of Washington somehow manage to develop that sense of humor they’ve been missing all year. It’s like a Dean Martin roast in which everyone is really up-to-date on current affairs, with Joe Biden in the role of Don Rickles.
With a litany of zingers both political and pop-cultural, President Obama showed Jay Leno what it means to give someone a good lead-in. For example, the President detailed the secret provision in the healthcare bill that read: “The following individuals shall be excluded from the indoor tanning tax within this bill: Snooki, J-WOWW, The Situation and House Minority Leader John Boehner.” Oh, snap!
Obama also bemoaned the fact that he didn’t win the Nobel Prize in Physics, the one he really wanted, called Republican Party chairman Michael Steele “Notorious GOP,” and referred to Leno as “the only person whose ratings fell more than mine last year.” Leno then took the stage and delivered a routine straight off of The Tonight Show, mainly lukewarm, vanilla fare that wasn’t nearly as good as the comedian-in-chief’s, and definitely wasn’t at the same level as Stephen Colbert’s stint a few years ago. (Ex. “Some of you on the news have mentioned the president’s been getting a little gray since taking office. But he’s had his fare share of stress. Tough economy, two wars, health care fight, Iran, North Korea, his mother-in-law moving in with him.” Badum-ching!) Granted, you’re probably given some laughing leeway when you’re the leader of the free world, but some of the jokes Leno shuffled through were staler than the rolls they serve at these things.
Watching Obama deliver one-liners made me think that, if this whole president thing doesn’t end up working out, he might be a good replacement for Leno. (And our TV critic Ken Tucker agrees Leno failed to impress at the dinner last night.) I doubt NBC would mind just one more late-night switch-up. What do you think, PopWatchers? Was Obama better than Leno? Should POTUS start working Tuesdays at the Comedy Cellar, or should he not quit his day job? Take a look at video from the dinner embedded after the jump and judge for yourself.