“Obama Out”

It has become cool to mock the elite gathering of journalists, politicians and entertainers that is known as the White House Correspondents Dinner. But to ignore it altogether is to miss the comedic talent we’ve witnessed on stage over the last 8 years. Here is what Seth Meyers had to say about that after Saturday night’s event.

Dean Obeidallah explained why President Obama is the Comedian in Chief.

No U.S. President has been a better comedian than Barack Obama. It’s really that simple…

Presidents typically play it safe at the dinner. You can never go wrong with self-deprecating jokes; they make you more likable. But Obama rejected this approach. Instead, he has used the chance to filet his rivals. It’s like a comedic version of Game of Thrones, but instead of gouging out people’s eyes, Obama kills with punchlines.

Emily Heil says that we have been witnessing the first alt-comedy President.

For a long time, presidential humor was predictable as a knock-knock joke. Then along came President Obama, dropping the word “heezy,” mimicking viral memes, and quipping that he and Joe Biden are so close, they’d probably be denied service at an Indiana pizza joint.

Obama, who will take the stage at the annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner on Saturday to deliver the traditional joke-filled monologue — the eighth and final of his administration — has a comic sensibility that’s edgier and more pop-culture-influenced than we’re used to hearing from politicians.

From the dinner dais, he’s made reference to drunk-texting and “The Hunger Games.” He’s used the phrase “piss off” and flirted with even bluer material. (Does he have a bucket list for his final year? “Well,” he quipped at the 2015 dinner, “I have something that rhymes with bucket list.”) Outside the dinner, he’s mocked the New York Times food section on Twitter (“respect the nyt, but not buying peas in guac”) and sparred with Zach Galifianakis on his culty “Between Two Ferns” faux-talk show.

He might not be the first truly post-racial president after all — but Obama is arguably the first postmodern humorist to hold the office.

On Saturday, from the time he took the stage to Anna Kendrick’s “You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone,” to the skewering of presidential candidates, to his video montage of “Couch Commander” (complete with references to everything from birth certificates to grand bargains) this year’s routine at the dinner was no exception. If you haven’t watched the whole thing, I’d suggest that you do so. It will brighten your day.

But the President’s ending was not simply a way of signing off on his last routine at this annual gala. It could just as easily capture his last two words on January 20, 2017.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.