Washington Celebrates Itself, Because Someone Has To
April 27, 2015

It's one of those events that is so big, everyone talks about it afterwards, but not big enough for people to realize when it is so they can watch. While I could be talking about any MTV awards show, in this case, I'm referring to the White House correspondents dinner. The Potus with the Mostest, a comedian from Saturday Night Live, and a lot of reporters and dignitaries not sure if they should laugh or not.

Mom called me Saturday afternoon. We usually talk on Sundays, but she wanted to let me know it was on. She wasn't sure what channel, but between the two of us, we determined the best coverage would be from CNN. My cable guide said the broadcast would be on for four and a half hours. I decided to tape it, especially since SNL was a rerun.

Taping it turned out to be a terrific idea. The first hour (of which I fast forwarded through most of) was a red carpet-type show. They had an interview with Donald Trump, some actress from Orange Is the New Black, and other people who don't matter in the world of politics. Skipping forward, the coverage turned from Pre-Oscar like to more like the half hour before the State of the Union Address, except this lasted more than two hours. They had to tell us what was going to happen, when it was going to happen, and what happened in the past. They did have clips, though, of past hosts like Jay Leno, Jon Stewart, and Joel McHale, and I stopped my fast forwarding to watch those. There were clips of past Obama performances, and, of course, it wouldn't be live television without some Twitter poll, so they wanted people to vote on who was funnier, Obama, Bill Clinton, or George W. Bush (people seemed to think that meant who was intentionally funnier, so Obama won in a landslide). Three hours and 18 minutes into the telecast, we finally got to hear some live jokes, starting with the President of the United States.

Mr. Obama did a 21-minute set, complete with visuals such as a photo-shopped picture of an angry John McCain with a broom keeping people off the White House lawn. Topics included Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, the 2016 presidential race, his own gray hair, and of course, the media. In referring to the northeast's brutal winter, he said “the polar vortex caused so many record lows, they renamed it MSNBC.” Looking at host Cecily Strong, he mentioned that she played CNN's Brooke Baldwin on SNL, and said that was interesting because he thought “the only people who impersonated journalists on CNN were journalists on CNN.” After a few Joe Biden jokes, Obama said, “All kidding aside, I love that man. We've gotten so close that in some places in Indiana they won't serve us pizza anymore.” But, Obama said, acting as he was going to get serious, “I have to stay focused. These are still times of deep uncertainty. For example, I have a friend who, just a few weeks ago, was making millions of dollars a year. Now she's living out of a van in Iowa.” Looking around the room, the President quipped, “And Donald Trump is here. Still.” The President closed with a few minutes with Luther the Anger Translator, played by Keegan-Michael Key of Comedy Central's Key and Peele (I had no idea who he was), and then got real serious with a toast to the journalists who were either killed or imprisoned in the Middle East.

After the President, and a three-minute review from CNN's anchor panel, came headliner Cecily Strong. Her set was slightly longer than Obama's, and while she mostly stayed away from the President, she went after the media and coverage of current events. “Let's give it up for the Secret Service”, Strong said. “After all, they are the only law enforcement agency in the country that will get in trouble if a black man gets shot.” That drew some groans from the crowd. Strong did not hide that she hopes Hillary Clinton will be the next President. “I'm excited that she's running, but I don't think Hillary is excited about having to run. I think she feels the way Meryl Streep feels when she has do audition for something. Are you kidding me?” Strong also made the audience repeat after her, “I solemnly swear...not to talk about Hillary's appearance...because that is not journalism.” Strong's best line was describing the other Democratic candidates as a “who's who of who's that?”. In going after the Republicans and Jeb Bush, she pointed out that JEB is an acronym for John Ellis Bush. “I guess he thought that sounded wayyy to elitist”, said Strong. “It's kind of like if Benedict Cumberbatch decided to go by 'Skeeter'.” And talking to First Lady Michelle Obama and her eat healthy campaign, “It was a dream to sit next to you, and a nightmare to eat next to you.”Stong did close with a couple of remarks directed right at the President. “Your approval rating is 48 percent”, she said. “Not only that, your gray hair is at 85 percent. Your hair is so white it can talk back to the police.” And her parting shot looking directly at him, “You know Mr. President, you probably get this a lot, but you're a lot like Madonna. You've both given this country so much, but, in like a year-and-a-half, you've got to stop.”

I bailed after Strong was finished and didn't stick around for CNN's post-game show, so I don't know how long they analyzed and over-analyzed, which is a probably a good thing. It's really not like CNN to over-cover something, though, is it? Oh wait, it is. I think I'll watch the unanchored feed on C-SPAN next year, or just watch the clips on YouTube.

Mark your calendar: Saturday has a couple of events that everyone is talking about. The first Saturday in May means the Kentucky Derby, but at night will be the prize fight of the century. If you are too cheap to pay for it yourself like I am, find your favorite sports bar for the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight. I can't remember being this excited about boxing since Mike Tyson bit Evander Holyfield's ear off (that was in 1997 by the way).

Weather report: Thanks to a rainout with the Giants in Colorado yesterday, and despite Dodger manager Don Mattingly's efforts to screw it up, Dodgers and Giants fans will get to see (or listen to, or read about) a Madison Bumgarner-Clayton Kershaw rematch. Neither of the two aces got a decision in the Giants' 3-2 win Wednesday in San Francisco, and it figured the two would be squaring off at Dodger Stadium tonight. Mattingly mucked that up, though, by starting Scott Baker instead of Brett Anderson yesterday. That pushed Anderson back to tonight and Kershaw to tomorrow. However, the Giants postponement in Denver yesterday moved Tim Lincecum to tonight, leaving Bumgarner to face Kershaw tomorrow.

More weather: By my count, there have been four weather postponements so far this season, which isn't bad really. Other than yesterday's rainout in Denver, the other three have all involved Chicago teams. The White Sox were rained out Friday in Chicago, the Cubs Saturday in Cincinnati, and the Cubs were washed out the second game of the year at Wrigley Field. There was also another postponement tonight that had nothing to do with rain. The Baltimore Orioles game was not played due to rioting in town. That game was against? The Chicago White Sox.

Silence is golden?: Cubs radio announcer Pat Hughes tried to make an interesting and humorous point, which may not have turned out the way he would have liked. The Cubs, leading their game yesterday in Cincinnati said that when a road team has a lead, the crowd is quiet, reminding him of the song 'Silence is Golden'. Hughes, though, couldn't remember who sang the song, and broadcast partner Ron Coomer had no idea what he was talking about. A producer looked it up, and told him it was Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons from 1964. Hughes insisted that it couldn't be, because he remembered a female lead singer. More digging was done (meaning You Tube or Google search), and it was discovered that the Tremaloes had a hit with the tune in 1967. Hughes said that must have been the group with the female singer, and the subject was dropped. Checking You Tube myself, the Tremaloes consisted of four guys.

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