Even an admirer of Barack Obama such as myself has to admit that the press is way, way more interested in him than they were in that last guy (what was his name?). Case in point: the coverage of Saturday night’s annual White House Correspondent’s Dinner. Usually a staple of C-Span, this year the event got fucking State of the Union coverage. At least it did on MSNBC, where I watched first the event itself, and then an hour of commentary and analysis featuring the likes of an admittedly amused Pat Buchanan.
The news from the show seems to be centered on Wanda Sykes, who made a few mean jokes about poor ol’ Rush Limbaugh during her set that has both conservative and liberal commentators crying foul. As usual, I don’t get it. I watched the whole event from beginning to end on C-Span later that night, after the MSNBC coverage ended, and Wanda Sykes’s set wasn’t that big of a deal. What I noticed the most was that it wasn’t very funny. Make fun of Rush Limbaugh all you want – Christ knows he’s got it coming – but come on, be funny about it. Is it really that hard to score points off of Rush fucking Limbaugh? I’ve seen Wanda Sykes way, way funnier than she was Saturday night.
Maybe I’m just spoiled by Stephen Colbert’s brilliant performance a few years ago, but hearing the dinner’s designated comedian flip shit to Limbaugh by calling him the “20th hijacker who was so high on oxycontin he couldn’t make his flight” just doesn’t do it. Her follow-up, responding to Rush hoping for Obama’s administration to fail by hoping for his kidneys to fail, made me laugh, though, for its sheer nastiness.
The funniest act of the show was the president himself, even though his opening teleprompter gag was lifted verbatim from a Saturday Night Live sketch. He had a Limbaugh joke of his own that was way funnier. Addressing RNC Chairman Michael Steele, who was in attendance, Obama said, “Michael, for the last time, the Republican Party is not getting a bailout. Rush Limbaugh doesn’t count as a troubled asset.”
Better than what Wanda brought, anyway. Below I have posted videos of Obama’s speech, and Wanda Sykes’s, so you can see for yourself if you missed them Saturday night because you have a life and were out doing things. Check ‘em out: