Although many were pleased with President Obama's decision to have Harvard professor Henry Gates and Cambridge police officer James Crowley over for a beer on Thursday, it might have polled best with one particular constituency: comedy writers.
Judging from the stockpile of jokes that late night comics told over the past week, the beer summit was comedy gold for material. Night after night, joke after joke, Letterman, O'Brien, Fallon, and Maher milked the meeting. And they produced some funny stuff.
Out of the four, Letterman appeared to enjoy the summit the most, producing the most jokes at the expense of the meeting. And what would an Obama joke be without throwing in the obligatory jab at Joe Biden?
"Big beer fest at the White House. And today, Obama sent Vice President Biden on an emergency goodwill mission for pretzels, so that will be good," Letterman observed.
Fallon played with the tee-totaling vice president as well: "President Obama held his first beer summit at the White House today. Obama wanted Bud Light, Crowley wanted Blue Moon, Gates wanted a Red Stripe, and Joe Biden wanted whatever fits in his beer helmet."
Perhaps Fallon and Letterman share some of the same comedy writers?
"He invited the professor and the cop to come to the White House on Thursday for beer. Alcohol usually cools things off. Have you noticed that? That's where you want to go," Letterman deadpanned.
Fallon went down the same road: "Finally, tomorrow, President Obama has his big beer summit with Professor Henry Louis Gates and Sergeant James Crowley. Yeah, that's a great idea. In my experience, the best way to settle an argument between guys from Boston, just add alcohol."
Of course Letterman had a top-ten list devoted to the event. A couple favorites include: "Let's call Limbaugh and take this party to the next level" and "Tell Geithner to put his shirt on".
Who knew Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was such a rich comic resource? Letterman doubled-down with: "Big kegger at the White House tomorrow. Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. will be there and Sergeant James Crowley will be there, coming over for beer. It's going to be a crazy night. There will be karaoke with Tim Geithner."
Letterman had a double shot of Limbaugh as well: "And then in the spirit of this, I thought it was nice today, Rush Limbaugh called up Professor Gates and Officer Crowley and he invited them over for some OxyContin."
Not surprisingly, Bill Maher was more pointed in his remarks: "So, I don't know if this is a case of racism. The police in Cambridge say it had nothing to do with Gates being black. They said they would have given the same treatment to any minority."
A good comedian doesn't just stop with one joke. Maher produced a combo-meal with: "But it's all coming out okay, because Obama today spoke to Officer Crowley on the phone. He said he was a good man, a good policeman, and they could find common ground. Although he did find it strange at the end of their conversation that Crowley demanded to see his birth certificate."
Fallon said the meeting was one of just many to come: "Obama wants to make this a regular thing. He's already invited Ahmadinejad over for Appletinis."
The ever-jolly Conan O'Brien noted, "Of course, President Obama has invited Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates and the policeman who arrested him to the White House. Reportedly, Obama is going to serve them Budweiser. And in the spirit of racial harmony, Budweiser is changing its nickname from the 'King of Beers' to the 'Martin Luther King of Beers.'"
O'Brien proved he could combo-meal it too with: "President Obama, of course, everyone knows, has invited Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates and the police officer who arrested him to the White House for a beer. Of course, this could be trouble, because the last time Obama got a few beers in him, he bought General Motors."
Everyone's got their favorite joke. Ours was this gem from Conan: "They had the big beer summit earlier tonight at the White House. President Obama had a beer with Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates and the policeman who arrested him. The meeting got off to a rough start when a neighbor called the police to say Gates was breaking into the White House."
By the way, it wasn't just the comedians who had fun with the story. The mainstream news media had a blast with it too. On the night of the summit, Hardball's Chris Matthews compared Joe Biden to Ed McMahon (we included the video below).