Watch Obama, Conan Play for Laughs at WHCD

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 28 2013 12:10 AM

Watch Obama Be Funnier Than Conan at White House Correspondents’ Dinner 2013

“I know CNN has taken some knocks lately but the fact is, I admire their commitment to covering all sides of the story, just in case one of them happens to be accurate," President Obama said during his speech


It began with a funny House of Cards spoof, ended with lame jokes by Conan O’Brien. And in the middle, President Obama got some bangs. The president was undoubtedly funnier than the comedian this time around at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner 2013, which was notable for being the first time celebrity cable channel E! provided live coverage from the Washington Hilton’s red carpet.

Obama used the opportunity to poke fun at some people in Washington he doesn’t like so much. But first, as is tradition, he had to make fun of himself, although he did wonder whether it was possible to be brought down a peg after four-and-a-half years at the White House. "I'm not the strapping young Muslim Socialist that I used to be,” Obama said. The president said he was ready to try new things and then showed a montage of photographs showing him sporting bangs.


Politico gets a bit Freudian in writing about the president’s speech, saying the dinner gives Obama a chance to “take shots at those things in Washington that rub him the wrong way … all under the guise of ‘humor.’” To that end, he wasted no time making fun of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in what was likely his funniest line of the night. “Some folks still don’t think I spend enough time with Congress. ‘Why don’t you get a drink with Mitch McConnell?’ they ask,” Obama said. “Really? Why don’t you get a drink with Mitch McConnell?”

O’Brien was the headliner of the night but the laughs were few and far between. Among his highlights: He made fun of George Stephanopoulos for being short, mocked Reince Priebus for his name, and even made fun of the Hilton. It all ended with a lookalikes slideshow of Washington insiders.

Watch Kevin Spacey hoarding Correspondents' Dinner tickets, President Obama’s speech, and Conan O’Brien’s routine after the jump. But remember, Sarah Palin would rather you wouldn’t: “That #WHCD was pathetic,” Palin wrote on Twitter. “The rest of America is out there working our asses off while these DC assclowns throw themselves a #nerdprom.”

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.


Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

Why Are Lighter-Skinned Latinos and Asians More Likely to Vote Republican?

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 12:29 PM A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

Subprime Loans Are Back

And believe it or not, that’s a good thing.

It Is Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

How Ted Cruz and Scott Brown Misunderstand What It Means to Be an American Citizen

Divestment Is Fine but Mostly Symbolic. There’s a Better Way for Universities to Fight Climate Change.

  News & Politics
Sept. 22 2014 6:30 PM What Does It Mean to Be an American? Ted Cruz and Scott Brown think it’s about ideology. It’s really about culture.
Sept. 22 2014 5:38 PM Apple Won't Shut Down Beats Music After All (But Will Probably Rename It)
Sept. 22 2014 4:45 PM Why Can’t the Census Count Gay Couples Accurately?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 7:43 PM Emma Watson Threatened With Nude Photo Leak for Speaking Out About Women's Equality
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
Brow Beat
Sept. 22 2014 9:17 PM Trent Reznor’s Gone Girl Soundtrack Sounds Like an Eerie, Innovative Success
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 6:27 PM Should We All Be Learning How to Type in Virtual Reality?
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 22 2014 4:34 PM Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.