White House Correspondents' Dinner 2013: Obama, Conan Wowed With Jokes

The 2013 Whitehouse Correspondents' Dinner (a.ka. #nerdprom) was everything aspiring nerds the world over hoped it would be: a room full of men and women made famous by their intellect and political insight, strewn with glittering celebrity eye-candy. President Obama took the podium to DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win.”.He joked about Michelle’s new bangs, saying he’d hoped to score some bangs for his second term; unfortunately the look didn’t quite win over his staff. And he made a 99 Problems Jay-Z reference. Here are the top ten WHCD jabs and gags from both President Obama and Conan.

President Obama's Show Stealers:

1. Obama on getting gray and looking older in his second term:

“Now, look, I get it. These days, I look in the mirror and I have to admit, I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be. Time passes. You get a little gray."

2. On advice from Maureen Dowd re: how to be a better president:

"Maureen Dowd said I could solve all my problems if I were just more like Michael Douglas in The American President. And I know Michael is here tonight. Michael, what’s your secret, man?  Could it be that you were an actor in an Aaron Sorkin liberal fantasy? Might that have something to do with it?  I don’t know. Check in with me. Maybe it’s something else." 

3. On CNN’s News Coverage:

“I admire their commitment to cover all sides of a story, just in case one of them happens to be accurate.”

4. On how the media and the President have two very different jobs:

“The fact is I really do respect the press.  I recognize that the press and I have different jobs to do.  My job is to be president; your job is to keep me humble.  Frankly, I think I’m doing my job better.”

5. On reaching "across the aisle" and the Republican Party’s make-over:

“I know Republicans are still sorting out what happened in 2012, but one thing they all agree on is they need to do a better job reaching out to minorities. And look, call me self-centered, but I can think of one minority they could start with. Helloooo? Think of me as a trial run, you know?  See how it goes.” 

Conan’s Top 5 Zingers:

1. On tension between John Boehner and President Obama:

“It’s no surprise Speaker [John] Boehner isn’t here tonight,” he said, adding that Boehner and President Barack Obama are “still struggling to get along.” “It’s kinda like a blind date between Anderson Cooper and Rachel Maddow. In theory, they understand each others’ positions, but deep down, you know nothing’s ever going to happen.”

2. He goes after the print media:

“The print media is here for two very good reasons: food and shelter. Some people say the print media is dying but I don’t believe it. And neither does my blacksmith.”

And the new media:

“I see the Huffington Post has a table. Yeah! Which leaves me wondering, if you’re here, who’s covering Miley Cyrus’ latest nip-slip? Who’s assembling the Top 25 Yogurt-related tweets? Seven Mistakes You’re Making With Bacon … That’s a real one, and you should be ashamed of yourselves.”

3. Conan compares #nerdprom to the high school cafeteria:

“As I look around the room and see all the media here tonight, I realize this is just one big high school cafeteria. That’s all it is,” he said. “Think about it. Fox is the jocks, MSNBC is the nerds … NPR is the table for kids with peanut allergies. Al Jazeera is the weird foreign exchange student nobody talks to.”

He finishes with the print media:

“And print media, I didn’t forget you,” he said. “You’re the poor kid who died sophomore year in a car crash. Cheer up, we dedicated the yearbook to you.”

4. And Conan on foreign policy:

“What’s with kim jung un?? Now in the past we’ve had really scary enemies like Saddam Hussein and Hitler. Now our nemesis is a pouty teenage boy who dresses like Rosie O’Donnell at the Emmy’s ... What that guy doesn’t get is that we already have an unstable peninsula that will ultimately bring down America. It’s called Florida. “

5. Lastly, Conan compiles a fake casting list for the (also fake) Hollywood portrayal of the Obama Presidency. Watch Conan’s entire bit and you’ll see it begin at 24 minutes in. 

Finally, by far the best gag of the night was Steven Spielberg’s “Obama.” Just Watch.

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Nicole Polizzi

Nicole is an adjunct lecturer in Sociology, Philosophy and Composition at ASA in Manhattan. Professionally she is dually obsessed with the expansion/protection of human rights and social justice, and holistic, arts-inclusive education reform. Running, writing and belting Adele in the shower are her catharses.

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