No Punches Pulled Here
Obama reserved his sharpest jabs for the dinner guests, making jokes at the expense of Chuck Todd’s facial hair, traditional media’s battle to stay relevant in an increasingly online world, and, in a joke that rose like a lead balloon, the media industry’s struggle to stay financially solvent.
“Brian Williams is Actually a Terrible Houseguest.”
Obama joked about his recent Brian Williams Inside the Obama White House special. The jokes, however funny they were, did conjure up some disturbing mental images—exactly how cozy did Williams and Obama get during the shoot?
Roast Rahm at Your Own Risk
Joe Biden, Larry Summers, and Rahm Emanuel were among the White House staffers roasted by Obama. The president probably should have left his chief of staff alone, however—it’s never a good idea to anger someone who can deliver a grand jeté to the head.
“What Would a Wise Latino Do?”
There was the briefest of lulls in jokes when Obama said he was proud of his Supreme Court nominee, Sonia Sotomayor. But he dove right back in with a demonstration of the difference between empathy and sympathy.
Guantanamo Bay: Only Funny for Harold and Kumar
It’s hard to tell whether Obama’s Guantanamo jokes met with tepid laughs because the subject is so controversial, or because the jokes themselves were too oblique. One referred to the Uighurs, and another to the relocation of 13 detainees to Palau. Hint: if you have to Google it to get it, it’s not a good joke.
“I’m Not the Salesman-in-Chief.”
Media wasn’t the only troubled industry to get kicked while it was down. Obama also turned his gimlet eye on the auto companies. Channeling Oprah, he said, “If you look under your seat, you’ll find that…you get a car company! You get a car company! And Fox, you get AIG! Enjoy!”
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