Conan O'Brien and Obama Earn Big Laughs at the White House Correspondents' Dinner
Hey White House Correspondents' Association, what took you so long to have Conan O'Brien back as the comedian guest for your annual White House Correspondents' Dinner? The talk show host last entertained your audience in 1995, and 18 years later, on Saturday night at the Washington Hilton, the funny guy kept the laughter and applause going throughout his 20-minute speech.
And that was after he followed President Barack Obama, who landed quite a few zingers of his own.
Among TBS late-night host O'Brien's best jokes at the event nicknamed the Nerd Prom: comparing the room of media types to a high school cafeteria. "Fox is the jocks, MSNBC is the nerds, bloggers are the Goths, NPR is the table for kids with peanut allergies, Al Jazeera is the weird foreign exchange student nobody talks to," he said, "and print media, I didn't forget you. You're the poor kid who died sophomore year in a car crash … cheer up, we dedicate the yearbook to you."
O'Brien also poked fun at everything from the new Bush library, a probably lack of chemistry on a Rachel Maddow/Anderson Cooper date, and C-SPAN to New Jersey governor Chris Christie, "Today" weatherman Al Roker, and the Hilton ("They were kind enough to reschedule a Cash4Gold seminar for us").
Meanwhile, President Obama landed jabs at his wife's bangs, the supposed "Obama as the devil" actor in History Channel's "The Bible" miniseries and old nuggets like the Conan/Jay Leno brouhaha at NBC and Obama's own birthplace controversy.
His best joke of the evening also came at his own expense, sorta, as he recalled how billionaire Sheldon Adelson spent "Oprah money" to try to stop Obama from being re-elected.
"Did you know Sheldon Adelson spent $100 million of his own money last year on negative ads? You've gotta really dislike me to spend that kind of money," Obama said. "I mean, that's Oprah money. You could buy an island and call it 'Nobama' for that kind of money. Sheldon would have been better off offering me $100 million to drop out of the race. I probably wouldn't have taken it … but I'd have thought about it. Michelle would have taken it."
The President also joked about his, ahem, recreational activities during his younger years: "The media landscape is changing so rapidly you can't keep up with it," he said. "I remember when 'buzzfeed' was just something I did in college around 2 a.m."
The evening's post-meal presentation kicked off with a WHCA-made spoof video that featured Kevin Spacey channeling his "House of Cards" character Frank Underwood, who's joined by various politicians (New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg and Senator John McCain among them) and journalists (CBS News' Major Garrett and Buzzfeed's Ben Smith among them) in poking fun at the Dinner, which has been held every year since 1920.