Obama's 11 Best Jokes At The White House Correspondents' Dinner Were Even Wittier Than You Expected
With only 18 months left in his presidency, President Obama is about ready to call it a term and head in for the night — and that fact was no more apparent than on Saturday night at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, where Obama's jokes seemed more shade-tastic than ever. From Ted Cruz to self-deprecating nudges, nothing seemed off-limits. The president really shook things up, of course, when he brought in his own "Anger Translator" to give voice to a few of the more frustrating aspects of being leader of the free world — special shout-out to Keegan-Michael Key — but up until that point, Obama seemed to be doing pretty well on his own.
"While members of Congress can still go to dinners similar to this and get credit if they're moderately funny, a moderately funny president, unfortunately, is a disappointment," explained speechwriter and partner at the West Wing Writers firm Jeff Nussbaum, in a 2013 interview with the Los Angeles Times, stressing the importance of good delivery. Luckily for White House Correspondents' Dinner attendees, Obama did not disappoint.
The president's past speeches have earned him plenty of shining reviews and appropriate gifs, but thanks to what can only be described as a bad case of senioritis, this year's remarks were even more brazenly hilarious than usual. Here, in no particular order, are 11 of his best lines from Saturday night:
The president did nothing to hide the fact that he's still completely enamored with the graceful first lady, but that love didn't stop him from cracking a joke that will likely get him a plateful of broccoli for dinner for the next few weeks (watch out, Obama):
Michelle hasn’t aged a day. I ask her what her secret is and she just says "Fresh fruits and vegetables." It's aggravating.
2. His Critics
Obama gave aggressive critics of his tenure sarcastic whiplash when he quipped:
Some people still say I'm arrogant, aloof, condescending. Some people are so dumb.
The president, acting more chipper than ever, also lamented the one and only former Vice President Dick Cheney:
Dick Cheney says he thinks I'm the worst president of his lifetime. Which is interesting, because I think Dick Cheney is the worst president of my lifetime.
3. Ted Cruz
By far, one of the funniest moments of the evening was when even Obama couldn't control his own laughter while poking fun at one of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's oddest statements of late.
Ted Cruz said that denying the existence of climate change made him like Galileo. Now that's not really an apt comparison. Galileo believed the Earth revolves around the sun. Ted Cruz believes the Earth revolves around Ted Cruz.
4. Cecily Strong & CNN
Everyone was waiting with bated breath to hear just what Obama thought of the evening's featured entertainer — after all, she's one of only five women to host the event in all the years it's been around. Would he go easy on her? Would he poke fun at one of her Saturday Night Live characters instead?
Turns out Obama was way ahead of us: while he didn't exactly rake her across the coals, the president did manage to throw in a few jabs at CNN in the process:
On Saturday Night Live, Cecily impersonates CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin, which is surprising, because usually the only people impersonating journalists on CNN are journalists on CNN.
5. Joe Biden & Memories Pizza
Leave it to Obama to make bromantic jokes about his VP while simultaneously throwing shade at a seemingly homophobic business establishment. The president covered all of his bases when he joked that he and Biden had grown particularly fond of one another's company in recent days:
Let me set the record straight. I tease Joe Biden, but you know he has been in my side for seven years. I love that man. He's not just a great Vice President, he is a great friend. We've gotten so close in some places in Indiana, they won't serve us pizza anymore.
Obama, of course, was referring to Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Indiana, which received over $800,000 in GoFundMe donations after its owner refused to cater gay weddings due to their religious beliefs. But don't feel bad: if nothing else, Obama's hilarious joke may have at least upped that fundraising total a few dollars.
6. The "Bucket" List
Just when you thought the president couldn't up the ante anymore, he tossed in a few barbs about his final 18 months in the White House that may not have been so SFW (and the audience ate it up):
I am determined to make the most of every moment I have left. After the midterm elections, my advisors asked me, "Mr. President, do you have a bucket list?" And I said, "Well, I have something that rhymes with bucket list."
Take executive action on immigration. Bucket.
New climate regulations. Bucket. It's the right thing to do.
At least he's got a positive attitude about it, right?
7. Healthcare & His Fellow Democrats
Even Senate Democrats weren't safe on Saturday night, as Obama roasted both the reception to the Affordable Care Act and the outgoing status of his left-leaning colleagues:
Fact is though, at this point my legacy is finally beginning to take shape. The economy is getting better. Nine in 10 Americans now have health coverage. Today thanks to Obamacare you no longer have to worry about losing your insurance if you lose your job. You're welcome, Senate democrats.
8. Michele Bachmann
Leaving no stone unturned, Obama went after not only his fellow politicians and the reporters trailing them, but pundits who seemed to have nothing better to do than compare him to the Anti-Christ:
Just this week, Michele Bachmann actually predicted that I would bring about the biblical end of days. Now, that's a legacy. That's big. I mean, Lincoln, Washington, they didn't do that.
9. Horrendous Misconceptions About Him
Remember when right-wing Tea Party members were alleging that Obama wasn't fit to be president because he wasn't born in the United States? Yeah, Obama does too:
It turns out Jeb Bush identified himself as Hispanic back in 2009, which, you know what, I — look, I understand. It's an innocent mistake. It reminds me of when I identified myself as American back in 1961.
Obama wasn't hesitant to take on critics who claimed that he was a Muslim either (as if that's a bad thing?):
Being president is never easy. I still have to fix a broken immigration system, issue veto threats, negotiate with Iran. All while finding time to pray five times a day. Which is strenuous.
10. Hillary Clinton
Obama made sure to remind everyone that he hadn't forgotten about the looming joblessness problem plaguing many parts of the country too:
I have to stay focused on my job. Because for many Americans this is still a time of deep uncertainty. For example, I have one friend just a few weeks ago, she was making millions of dollars a year and she's now living out of a van in Iowa.
Of course, the journalists probably got that joke right away, considering the strenuous lengths they went to to find her.
And finally, one that wasn't exactly his own...
11. Anger Translator Luther's Excitement Over A Clinton Presidency
So maybe he didn't deliver this one... but it was quite a feat that Obama could keep a straight face as Keegan-Michael Key screamed:
OH YEAH. KHALEESI IS COMING TO WESTEROS! WATCH OUT!
Bravo, Mr. President. Bravo.
Images: Getty Images (10)