Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Comedian In Chief

Hi there! Welcome to I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You as brought to you by  me, Dave-El, world famous blogger person. Thought I would post a few words about Saturday night's White House Correspondents Dinner

Yeah, I was there. Had a lovely table right near Helen Mirren and Michael Bloomberg. Helen is a fantastic kisser. For that matter, so is Mike.  

The food was fairly decent. The choice was steak or fish. I had the lasagna.   

Bernie Sanders was there. I tried to "Feel the Bern" but Secret Service pulled me away before I could get the chance. 

I met Kendall Jenner. I did not know I was meeting Kendall Jenner as I have no idea who Kendall Jenner is. She apparently did not know who I was either which is hard to understand but I'm willing to overlook it. 

OK, I wasn't really there. But I watched the video from C-SPAN and really, isn't watching anything on C-SPAN just as good as being there?  

For my younger readers who may not be aware of what the White House Correspondents Dinner (WHCD) is, it's a gathering of rich celebrities and powerful politicians to honor the work of journalists who sit way in the back behind the rich celebrities and powerful politicians.  

At this event are two featured speakers. One of the two is usually a comedian or comic actor; the other is the President of the United States. Your mileage may vary as to which one of the two is actually funny. 

For eight years, following President Obama has been a really tough act. The man has some serious chops when it comes to comic timing.

Here are some selected lines from Obama's stand up set. 

  • "If this material works well, I'm gonna use it at Goldman Sachs next year. Earn me some serious Tubmans."
  • "In my final year, my approval ratings keep going up. The last time I was this high, I was trying to decide on my major."
  • "I am a little hurt (Donald Trump)'s not here tonight. We had so much fun the last time. And it is surprising -- you have a room full of reporters, celebrities, cameras. And he says no. Is this dinner too tacky for The Donald? What could he be possibly doing instead? Eating a Trump Steak? Tweeting out insults to Angela Merkel? What's he doing?"
To take a look at the Comedian In Chief in action, click here.  

The actual alleged comic professional person this year was Larry Wilmore, host of Comedy Central's The Nightly Show. I liked Larry when he was a correspondent on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and he's done some particularly sharp satire on his own show. But on his own show, even after doing this gig for more than a year, Wilmore doesn't strike me as comfortable in this role. And he did little to dispell that view for me Saturday night. Joke and after joke fell flat. Usually the comedian guest at the WHCD tries to be a bit edgy, getting in some digs at the politicians, celebrities and reporters in attendance. Even the President himself is not above getting a few barbs. Which is OK as long as you're still funny while doing it. Larry Wilmore was not funny. 

Famous professional writer dude Ken Levine offers his take here. Or go watch the video of Larry's performance. and judge for yourself. I mean, maybe its just me. I'm too old and the wrong audience for this sort of thing. But watching Larry nervously laugh at his own unfunny jokes, I just wasn't feeling it. 

And maybe neither was Larry Wilmore. How else to explain closing out his set with the N-word except as a total give in to desperation? 

No, better to have just brought out Obama for a 2nd set. Or maybe play some video of the President's other comedic work. 

Given all the near constant grief and obstruction the President has encountered for 8 years, I guess its a good thing that he has a good sense of humor. Next year, Obama will be out of the White House pressure cooker and looking for what to do next with his life. May I suggest stand up comedy? 

That's that for today. I'll be back with another post tomorrow. Until then, remember to be good to one another. 

Mr. President, if you would close today's post...

"Obama. Out!" 

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