Zingers from the White House Correspondents’ Dinner

Everything is fair game at Washington's annual 'nerd prom' featuring political figures, Hollywood celebrities, and White House reporters.

Jacquelyn Martin/AP
President Obama speaks during the White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) Dinner at the Washington Hilton Hotel, Saturday night.

Another nerd prom – a.k.a. the White House Correspondents’ Dinner – has come and gone, but the jokes and mockery live on.

President Obama took aim at Speaker John Boehner (who wasn’t there), New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (who was), some likely presidential contenders in 2016, and himself. Comedian Joel McHale took aim at all of the above, but went long on Christie jokes.

Mr. Obama positioned himself between two ferns, because, well, it worked before. And as always, the president’s comedic timing was impeccable. Here are our picks for Obama’s five best jokes:

• I’m feeling sorry – believe it or not – for the speaker of the House…. These days, the House Republicans actually give John Boehner a harder time than they give me, which means orange really is the new black.  

• Gridlock has gotten so bad in this town you have to wonder: What did we do to [insert scatological term] Chris Christie so bad?  

• Michelle and I watched the Olympics – we cannot believe what these folks do – death-defying feats – haven’t seen somebody pull a “180” that fast since Rand Paul disinvited that Nevada rancher from this dinner.

• Republicans actually brought in a group of consultants to teach their candidates how to speak to women…. And I don’t know if it will work with women, but I understand that America’s teenage boys are signing up to run for the Senate in droves.

 • Folks are saying that with my sagging poll numbers, my fellow Democrats don’t really want me campaigning with them. And I don’t think that’s true – although I did notice the other day that Sasha needed a speaker at career day, and she invited Bill Clinton.

For the full speech, here’s a transcript.

It includes a poignant moment when Obama honored the first black journalist to cover a presidential press conference (in 1944), Harry McAlpin. A reporter for the Atlanta Daily World, Mr. McAlpin was never allowed to join the White House Correspondents’ Association, but has since been granted posthumous membership. The association, now 100 years old, also this year established a scholarship in his name.

Back to the humor: Joel McHale, star of NBC’s “Community” and host of “The Soup” on the E! network, was edgier than the president. Here are the five best jokes that are suitable for family reading:

• The filet tonight was grass-fed beef, freshly dragged off the Cliven Bundy ranch. The steaks are very tasty once you pull off the tiny white hoods.

• Governor [Christie], do you want bridge jokes or size jokes? ’Cause I’ve got a bunch of both. I could go half and half. I know you like a combo platter.

• I am sorry for that joke, Governor Christie. I did not know I was going to tell it, but I take full responsibility for it. Whoever wrote it will be fired. But the buck stops here. So I will be a man and own up to it just as soon as I get to the bottom of how it happened because I was unaware it happened until just now.

• Thanks to Obamacare, or as the president refers to it, “me-care,” millions of newly insured young Americans can visit the doctor’s office and see what a print magazine actually looks like.

• There’s a lot of celebrities here tonight; they’re the ones that don’t look like ghouls. Look around. The cast of “Veep” is here. That’s the series about what would happen if a “Seinfeld” star actually landed on another good show.

For the full McHale experience, here’s the transcript.

Speaking of “Veep,” the night’s program began with a video of the real veep, Joe Biden, and “Veep” star Julia Louis-Dreyfus in a brilliant sendup of a vice presidential buddy act. Watch for the cameos from Boehner, Michelle Obama, and Nancy Pelosi. If you’re a fan of “House of Cards,” you’ll appreciate Ms. Louis-Dreyfus’s perfectly delivered dig at Frank Underwood. And yes, Kevin Spacey was in the house.

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