At the recent White House Correspondents’ Dinner, Jay Leno quipped that he was worried that when Barack Obama was elected “the comedy well at the White House” would dry up. Then he thanked the president for “picking Joe Biden.”
Pretty funny stuff.
But the assembled media and celebrity crowd responded with the kind of tepid laughter that makes comics cringe.
Leno remarked that it was a “tough crowd.”
The late-night host perceived the audience correctly since they only responded with gusto to the jokes that were at the expense of Sarah Palin, the GOP, and folks in Arizona.
Leno had a well-prepared routine with lots of multimedia material including a photo montage of Obama eating junk food, a new educational program called “Cash for Flunkers,” a video that made fun of the fawning coverage that Obama receives from the press, some hilarious footage of Obama appearing on “The View,” and clips that poked fun at Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton.
Hollywood celebs in the crowd included Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Anna Kendrick, Rosario Dawson, Bradley Cooper, Michael Douglas, Ashley Judd, Jessica Alba, Adrian Grenier, Chelsea Handler, and Jimmy Fallon. Directors Kathryn Bigelow and J.J. Abrams were also in the audience.
Kim Kardashian, Jessica Simpson, Bill Maher, and Justin Bieber were there, too.
Media stars included Brian Williams, Andrea Mitchell, Wolf Blitzer, George Stephanopoulos, Diane Sawyer, Arianna Huffington, Ben Bradlee, Sally Quinn, and Brian Lamb.
The guest list explains why Leno’s fair and balanced jokes got the Fox News treatment.
In contrast to Jay, the president is making news in the most unfunny way.
Even the New York Times is criticizing Obama for the White House’s slow response to the crisis in the Gulf Coast.
Hey, the president was busy. He was having an Oval Office meeting with U2 lead singer Bono.
The White House confirmed that the rock star met with Obama and members of his national security staff to address the concern of U.S. foreign aid and the use of technology to increase economic growth in Africa.
But as one of our key sources of domestic oil here in the U.S. was spilling into the ocean, threatening the precious environment, vital industries, and the already floundering economy, it is astonishing that Obama would be sitting around chitchatting with the Irish rocker about anything.
He should have been devoting every available moment he had to try and avert, or at least mitigate, the catastrophic circumstances we now must suffer through.
I wonder what newspeak the administration and its media friends will cook up to reframe this one.
James Hirsen, J.D., M.A., in media psychology, is a New York Times best-selling author, commentator, media analyst, and law professor. He is admitted to practice in the U.S. Supreme Court and has made several appearances there on various landmark decisions. Hirsen is the co-founder and chief legal counsel for InternationalEsq.com, a legal think tank and educational institute for the study of law in the media. Visit: Newsmax.TV Hollywood.
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