Pres. Obama & Conan O’Brien at the WH Correspondents’ Dinner: how did they do?

I’m sure this will bring a flurry of complaints (Sarah Palin is throwing a hissy on Twitter already), so let me try to head off some of the bigger complaints here at the start: every president, Republican or Democratic, goes to the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner. The president is required to make a speech, although they are not always required to be funny. In the past, the dinner sometimes fell right after a huge national tragedy, so the President would make a more somber speech and the event would be more low-key. But for the most part, in every administration, no matter the political party, this is an event where the president gets to give a funny speech and make jokes about himself, about Washington, about the media and about his political foes and friends. Pres. Obama has proven to be really, really good at this kind of thing. He has a comedian’s timing and the ability to land a good joke.

So last night was his fifth Correspondents’ dinner as president, and he had some really good jokes. One of his first was the “I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist I used to be…” And the part about taking tips from Michelle Obama to change the subject – that’s when they showed the “bangs photos”. I loved all of the Sheldon Adelson jokes! For my money, I think Obama was funnier than Conan O’Brien:

And here’s Conan’s speech – it took him a while to hit his groove, and when he got into his groove, he seemed like a hyperactive kid. But he had some good jokes:

By the way, Michelle Obama wore a black cap-sleeve gown by Monique Lhuillier – I actually liked it! I’m sorry we don’t have any photos of her in the gown – you can see it here.

UPDATE: Oh, I forgot to add this – a House of Cards spoof starring Kevin Spacey with pretty much every power player in Washington.

Screencaps from the WHCD.

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52 Responses to “Pres. Obama & Conan O’Brien at the WH Correspondents’ Dinner: how did they do?”

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  1. blannie says:

    It was FANTASTIC! The Kevin Spacey spoof was amazing –too bad all of those players can’t work together that well in real life. Barack was a stitch and Conan was good too. I bet CNN is having talks right now about how to rebuild their tarnished reputation after taking so many hits (well deserved hits) last night.

  2. bluhare says:

    I’ll have to go watch it now. Those bangs are awesome!

    He had me when he was funnier than hell at the dinner when he knew Seal Team 6 was on their way to Pakistan to get Bin Laden. Balls of steel that man has.

    • Jane says:

      And he took it to Donald Trump at that dinner. The look on that idiot’s face was priceless and all he could do was sit and take it. The President’s performance at that dinner was fabulous, especially knowing what was going down elsewhere.

      He was funny at this one too. “I got 99 problems and now Jay Z is one!!”

  3. Pixie says:

    I’m from the UK and just watched this- it was so funny, I’m jealous you have such a witty, charming President whilst our Prime Minister resembles a wet fish.

  4. kay says:

    wait, why is there an issue with the dinner? Did he make an off colour joke or something?

  5. Hillshmill says:

    I’ve found that the presidents usually have aperture good sense of humor. Obama may be top notch, but Bush could throw a few jokes himself. Laura Bush was my college commencement speaker and age ripped on her husband during her speech as well. I think the WHC dinner is a great tradition and I really support letting out president enjoy his evening, regardless of the politics involved.

  6. Anne says:

    Obama was surprisingly better than Conan. Loved the joke about Anderson & Maddow. But my favorite part was the House of Cards spoof.

    • Ravensdaughter says:

      Ditto: Kevin Spacey-a brilliant and nimble (vs Daniel Day-Lewis-bless him, but method acting is NOT nimble) actor…

    • roxy750 says:

      I know!! I am a HUGE fan of Conan too, he has always been my favorite and can ALWAYS make me laugh, but he wasn’t so funny that night, I was a bit disappointed. Obama was super hilarious, and I am not a supporter of his–but he is our prez and I respect it—I do think he has an awesome personality and sense of humor though–he was SO FUNNY. Getting tired of the fat jokes tho–I think weight should be off limits. Just sayin.

  7. Greenieweenie says:

    Ugh, now that I’ve been forced to encounter Saran Palin’s twitter feed, I’m reminded of just what an idiot she really is.

  8. nina says:

    I LOVED the Spielberg spoof! Obama as played by Daniel Day-Lewis as played by Obama. Brilliant!

  9. BeesKnees says:

    Ugh why did I click on that link to Sarah Palin’s twitter feed?? And somehow it then took me to her facebook page where the comments are actually hilarious. I only read a few because they were hurting my brain (nothing wrong with being conservative OR liberal imo- just don’t say stupid, ignorant vitriolic things and actually know what you are talking about!) but it does seem like a lot of people don’t realize that the WHCD happens annually and think that this is just a party that Obama is throwing for his “liberal media” friends. And one woman said “with the threat of furloughs, I can’t believe these libs would have a prom for themselves.” This just helps to prove that some people should step away from social media!

  10. Janet says:

    Wassamatta with Sarah Palin? Probably in a snit because she wasn’t invited.

  11. bettyrose says:

    That bangs picture is priceless. The SO and I laughed for five minutes straight.

  12. Thiajoka says:

    Prez O is a natural. LOL @ the Rush Limbaugh joke.

    Stephen Colbert did it best.

  13. lucy2 says:

    I’ll have to watch the videos later tonight, but I love Michelle’s dress, and those bangs photos are the best thing I’ve seen all week, and that includes the video I watched of puppies trying to climb stairs.

  14. Amy says:

    Obama was pretty funny. Especially the bang pictures!! Michelle seemed to take it pretty well.

    Conan was okay, it took him awhile to get to the funnier jokes. I’ve actually seem him live (when he did his Legally Prohibited from Being Funny On TV tour) and the guy is very funny and talented and really knows how to play a guitar.

    However Washington is a different crowd and Conan’s usual antics don’t translate well to that demographic. So he definitely wasn’t his best here. Just okay.

    Seth Myers did a pretty good job a few years ago I remember.

  15. Sandip says:

    My favorite was when Conan said the Pres. Obama and John Boehner were like Anderson Cooper and Rachel Maddow. They may get together but, you know it’s not going work

  16. one says:

    Did anyone catch BO taylor swift joke? LOL! when potus jokes about your relationships you know you are going to need a new pr strategy.

  17. Bird says:

    Hilarious. Obama is greatness.

  18. Decloo says:

    Who designed the dais where Potus spoke and everyone important sat? That beige/mustardy fabric on the background curtains and the tablecloths was awful. All the speakers appeared completely washed out. Every time they cut to a close-up of Michelle we could see the horrifying psychedelic flower arrangements.

    Also, Calista Gingrich’s helmet hair!!!

  19. TG says:

    The Kevin spacey clip was great. Gail King seemed very comfortable with the elite crowd. I only know her as Oprah’s BFF so I was surprises that she was as confident as if she was Oprah. President Obama was awesome and I agree his comedic time is good. Conan was a let down after the President and he seemed out of his element and was just reading his jokes. But he finished very strong. His casting joke and showing who would play who was so funny I thought I would die. I encourage everyone to at least check out the last part.

  20. Keats says:

    Chris Christie will not be amused at Taylor Swift’s expense!!

  21. Lisa says:

    omg, he looks like Moe Howard with the bangs.

  22. Kim says:

    Im of no political party but i did find his speech to be a bit bullying and funny only at the expense of others which for the President I think is not appropriate. Couldnt he have been funny without having to bag on others?