UPDATED: OBAMA TO BE ROASTED…

Posted on April 6, 2009. Filed under: News And Politics... |

 
UPDATED:  Monday, May 11, 2009 1:34 PM (My original post follows my update)…
 
Here’s some information about the…
 
 
 
QueenBee
 
 
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…Figuratively speaking, of course.  This may be one big snoozefest because nobody wants to say anything derogatory against BO.  We’ll see how far they’re willing to go.  There’s a whole smorgasbord of topics that comedians can choose fromevery day there’s another story or two about the new administrationso there’s no lack of material.  The date’s not mentioned in this story, but the annual White House correspondents’ dinner in Washington is slated for May 9th.  Since this is a roast and Obama has put a lot of pork on the taxpayers’ plates, I’m wondering if they’re going to wheel in a roasted pig with a miniature world globe in his mouth instead of an apple.  Now, that would say a mouthful…
 
Story follows my posts on the joke that is Obama…
 
 
 
QueenBee
 
 
April 3, 2009
Wall Street Journal 

Preparing the Presidential Roast

Wanda Sykes tests Obama jokes for biggest gig yet, the correspondents dinner

By Amy Chozick

It’s become the most prestigious and feared gig in comedy: a stand-up act in front of the president.

Roger Erickson/JBG Photo

Comedian Wanda Sykes will take the stage at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner on May 9, the first public event designed to roast President Barack Obama. The dinner has showcased luminaries like Bob Hope, propelled careers like Stephen Colbert’s, and, as often, left entertainers defending their jokes afterward.

In recent appearances, Ms. Sykes has been trying out Obama jokes. "With a black president, we’ve got to come up with a new excuse," Ms. Sykes told the audience at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, N.J., one recent Friday night. "Can’t blame the Man, when you are the Man."

Ms. Sykes isn’t known for political satire. Her jokes tend to take aim at relationships, aging, race and current events, and are often raunchy. She currently plays Barb, the sarcastic best friend on the CBS sitcom "The New Adventures of Old Christine," and is best-known for appearances on HBO’s "Curb Your Enthusiasm" as well as a stint on HBO’s "The Chris Rock Show" in the 1990s. She recently signed with Fox to host a Saturday late-night talk show in the fall.

Jennifer Loven, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association and an Associated Press reporter, says she selected Ms. Sykes because she "wanted something different" after a string of white male comedians. The only requirements are that Ms. Sykes — who publicly supported Mr. Obama during the campaign — is funny without being vulgar and is not afraid to throw jabs at Mr. Obama, Ms. Loven says. The White House has no say in Ms. Sykes’s selection or monologue, Ms. Loven says.

Roasts | History of Teasing the President

1945

The dinner had historically featured a musical extravaganza. A more subdued ceremony took place during World War II, but still drew big-name host Frank Sinatra.

Getty Images
1975

Bob Hope and Chevy Chase took aim at Gerald Ford, and the president retaliated with the quip, "Good evening, I’m Gerald Ford and you’re not," a reference to Mr. Chase’s signature line on Saturday Night Live’s "Weekend Update."

Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
1985

A former Hollywood actor, Ronald Reagan joined impersonator Rich Little on stage and drew big laughs. Mr. Little’s act didn’t go over as well when he returned to the 2007 dinner.

AFP/Getty Images
2005

Laura Bush stole the show from Cedric the Entertainer when she teased President Bush, joked about going to strip clubs with Lynne Cheney and called herself a "desperate housewife."

Reuters
2006

Bush aides complained that Stephen Colbert’s routine went too far, but the scathing monologue became a sensation on the Internet and helped boost ratings for "The Colbert Report."

Associated Press
2008

Craig Ferguson ribbed the media. "It’s your job to watch the government and make sure they don’t exceed their power," he said. "Well done on that by the way, over the past eight years."

Ms. Sykes declined to discuss her plans for the dinner. But her recent stand-up routine offers a preview of her nascent political humor. In Red Bank, more than 1,500 mostly white, middle-aged fans filed into the refurbished old-fashioned theater to see Ms. Sykes’s sold-out show. Ms. Sykes, in jeans and a leather jacket with her signature short spiky hair, appeared beneath a single spotlight with a stool and performed for roughly an hour.

She warmed up the crowd with a joke about television host and personal finance adviser Suze Orman and then launched into the president.

"It’s so crazy how everyone is just in love with this man," Ms. Sykes said. She imitated a love-struck teenager calling into a radio show. "I would like to dedicate ‘Always and Forever’ to my president."

The audience laughed.

Mr. Obama should have chosen New York Gov. David Patterson as his vice president, she continued. "Who’s going to hurt the half-black guy if you’re going to be left with the whole black, blind guy?"

The audience groaned.

The White House Correspondents’ dinner is notoriously tough. Comics say the acoustics in the ballroom at the Washington Hilton, where dinner for the President and Michelle Obama and about 2,500 guests is held, are terrible. A podium is an awkward setup for stand-up. The reporters in the audience often don’t laugh at politically incorrect jokes about people they cover, especially when sitting with sources invited as guests.

"That’s the worst, most uptight crowd in the world," says Bill Maher, host of HBO’s "Real Time With Bill Maher," who hosted the similar Radio and Television Correspondents’ Association dinner during the Clinton administration. "They should get a juggler or a mime."

Every president since Calvin Coolidge in 1924 has attended the White House Correspondents’ Association annual dinner. The event attracts more star power than the Gridiron Club dinner in Washington, where the president is expected to give a self-deprecating speech. Mr. Obama did not attend the Gridiron dinner last month, the first president since Grover Cleveland in 1885 to skip.

Last year at the Correspondents dinner, Scottish comedian Craig Ferguson got an unexpected guffaw from George W. Bush when he told a joke about the time Mr. Bush’s Scottish terrier Barney "humped the Pope’s leg."

The dinner is televised live on C-SPAN. In the age of YouTube, the performance gets replayed to the world almost immediately. In 2006, Mr. Colbert’s quip comparing Bush cabinet changes to "rearranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg," bombed inside the ballroom. But his monologue took on a life of its own on the Internet with more than 2.7 million views online in less than 48 hours.

The following year the association went with what was widely viewed as a safer choice, impersonator Rich Little. Mr. Little further toned down his plans due to the shootings of students at Virginia Tech days earlier. "I’m not up here tonight to make any point politically," Mr. Little told the crowd. Mr. Little declined to comment.

Ms. Sykes, 45 years old, grew up in the Washington area and worked as a procurement officer with the National Security Agency before launching a career in comedy in 1987. She is currently on tour with stops in Reno, Nev., Atlantic City, N.J., and Orlando, Fla. Comedians who know her say they expect her to draw big laughs at the White House dinner using much of the material in her usual stand-up routine.

Ms. Sykes typically draws on her own experiences for punch lines. She jokes how on vacation in Hawaii she swam with an unfriendly "racist dolphin." Or how she was shopping for cold medicine at discount store Costco and "instead of 15 pills they give you one big a- tablet."

She has been divisive among black comedians. Bill Cosby has publicly criticized her for downplaying her education with slang and profanity for laughs. At the 2003 Emmy Awards, Ms. Sykes, a host, asked Mr. Cosby if "The Cosby Show" was scripted. "We spoke English," he replied on air. A spokesman for Mr. Cosby declined to comment.

Getty Images

Comedian Wanda Sykes

In a recent appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," Ms. Sykes said the country should trust Mr. Obama to fix the economic crisis. "We’re broke and I’ll tell you, nobody knows more about being broke than black people," she concluded. The punch line got a nervous laugh from the audience.

Among comics, there was some initial hand-wringing that the articulate Mr. Obama wouldn’t provide as much comic fodder as former President Bush. Comedian Alonzo Bodden says lately he directs more jokes at the economic crisis than the president. At a recent show in Grand Rapids, Mich., he riffed that Michigan is an example of everything that is wrong in America. "People there laughed because what else can you do?" he says.

Comedy Central’s "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," a premier venue for political satire, has focused lately on a feud with CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer. Comedy Central President Michele Ganeless says "The Daily Show" is "picking apart what [Obama’s] saying the same way they did with Bush."

Dana Carvey, known for his imitation of George H.W. Bush on "Saturday Night Live," says it can take time for a new president to reveal his quirks. For months Mr. Carvey says the cast struggled to find something funny about Mr. Bush.

After studying hours of news footage "it just hit us and we laughed," he says, adding in a higher-pitched, more nasal voice to imitate the former president’s view of the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall, "Before Bush, wall. After Bush, no wall."

 

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2 Responses to “UPDATED: OBAMA TO BE ROASTED…”

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Good one, Tom! LOL

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Leno is still doing Bush jokes every night. I guess they didn\’t get the election results in Burbank.

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