Jimmy Kimmel had ‘em rolling in the aisles at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner Saturday night. So did President Obama, although he’s probably grateful that he didn’t have to go on after Mr. Kimmel.
Obama may be able to launch drones and summon up Air Force One whenever he wants to. At last year’s dinner, he had to be funny knowing that he’d secretly ordered SEAL Team 6 to attack Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. But when it comes to humor, the President and his speech writers were in pretty competitive comedic territory at what’s known as Washington’s “Nerd Prom.”
Kimmel admitted to being nervous, but his jokes were solid (those that fluttered rather than killed he quipped had been written by Jake Tapper, senior White House correspondent for ABC News), his delivery was smooth, his timing right on.
In the middle of his routines, the great Mort Sahl would say: “Is there anybody here I haven’t offended? I’ll get to you in a minute.”
Kimmel got to just about everybody – political celebrities (Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich), media celebrities (Rupert Murdoch and Keith Olbermann), celebrity celebrities (Lindsay Lohan and Kim Kardashian). But it was in ways that merely tip-toed to the edge of personal insult, his dagger more rubber than steel.
Mr. and Mrs. Obama weren’t spared.
"I know you won't be able to laugh at my jokes about the Secret Service,” Kimmel said to the President. “Please cover your ears, if that's physically possible."
And regarding the first lady’s big fitness push, he said, "They say diplomacy is a matter of carrot and sticks, and since Michelle Obama got to the White House – so is dinner."
(For the record, the menu started with a salad of black lentil terrine with lump crabmeat; tango green and red artisan greens; red and yellow tear drop tomatoes, paired with a dill vinaigrette. The entrée was a Texas-rubbed petite filet with a calvados demi, paired with duo of jump shrimp seasoned with red curry, roasted haricot verts, baby pepper, patty pan squash, tasso mache choux risotto. Dessert was “The Galaxy” – a rich chocolate truffle mousse layered with chocolate genoise and almond macaroon; ganache truffle center finished in chocolate glaze, garnished with fresh raspberries.)
Courtesy of Politico.com, here are some of the evening’s jokes.
From 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?'"
"It's great to see the Gingriches here, because that means the check cleared."
On Mitt Romney: "You can't have a beer with him, because he doesn't drink. You can't have a cup of coffee with him, because he can't have caffeine. You can't even play Monopoly with him because he keeps trying to put the dog on the car."
On those who want to attack Iran: "They're a bunch of yahoos, and Netanyahus."
From the President:
“It’s great to be here this evening in the vast, magnificent Hilton ballroom – or what Mitt Romney would call a little fixer-upper."
"Look at this party. We’ve got men in tuxes, women in gowns, fine wine, first-class entertainment. I was just relieved to learn this was not a GSA conference."
"I want to especially thank all the members [of Congress] who took a break from their exhausting schedule of not passing any laws to be here tonight."
"I have a lot more material prepared, but I have to get the Secret Service home in time for their new curfew."