Jimmy Kimmel and President Obama high-fived their performances. But it was anything but a memorable evening of comedy at tonight’s White House Correspondents Dinner, that annual media-politics-showbiz schmoozefest in Washington DC. After three years in a row of telling funny jokes, President Obama flatlined. And ABC late night host Jimmy Kimmel didn’t fare any better: he was bland to a fault. They also couldn’t get any laughs out of the few Mitt Romney jokes they told, even though the GOP presidential candidate wasn’t in attendance. Here’s the live-blog. Judge For yourself:
UPDATE 7:30 PM: Jimmy Kimmel at the mic now. Just as Obama closed on a mention of the Secret Service scandal, that’s the topic Kimmel opens with. “Mr. President, I know you won’t be able to laugh at any of my jokes about the Secret Service,” Kimmel says looking at the Commander-in-Chief, “so cover your ears if that’s physically possible.” The ABC host continues: “I do have a lot of jokes about the Secret Service. I told them for $800 I wouldn’t tell any. But they only offered $30.” Kimmel is on a roll and tells still more Secret Service jokes.
Then he starts on other subjects. “It’s kind of hard to be funny with the President of the United States sitting right next to you, looking at you. And somehow day in and day out, Joe Biden manages to do it,” says Kimmel noting the Veep’s absence. Praising the popular First Lady and her anti-childhood obesity campaign, Kimmel makes a joke about the girth of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who laughs when the talk show host reminds that the state’s slogan is “not the Olive Garden State”. He raises the Democratic strategist’s comment who criticized Mitt Romney’s wife Ann for “not working a day in her life”. Then the crowd loves it when Kimmel uses that to make fun of tonight’s guests “Kim, Lindsay, etc” for not knowing anything about current events.
Kimmel’s digs at the press are the first real lulls in his performance. “What’s black and white and read all over?” he asks. His answer of “Nothing any more” gets public groans from the mediacentric audience. A boo is heard. “Really?” Kimmel asks in response. “The Christie jokes are OK, but not [that]?”
After a joke about Abraham Lincoln killing himself falls flat, Kimmel asks, “Is the Fox table laughing or did Rupert Murdoch hack into all my jokes already? … Some people think Rupert Murdoch was intentionally trying to appear to be confused when he testified in front of the British government recently. I don’t know. The man is 81 years old. I think you have to know how to use a cell phone before you can know how to hack into one.”
Kimmel starts on the campaign fundraiser which George Clooney is hosting for President Obama at the actor’s home in Los Angeles on May 10th: “I for one have always dreamed of eating a Hot Pocket with the President of the United States and Batman,” quipped the comic.
Kimmel is now weighing in on a wide range of targets. Some are observations, like this: ”Here in one room we have members of the media, politicians, corporate executives, advertiser, lobbyists and celebrities. Everything that is wrong with America is here in the room tonight.” He jokes that Kim Kardashian is as big a threat to America as Osama Bin Laden, which doesn’t go over well. His other jokes are about gay marriage, Keith Olbermann, Current TV (“Channel 1,000,000″), pot-smoking, Michelle Bachman’s husband (and his sexuality), Benjamin Netanyahu’s name (shortening it to “Yahoo!”), Midest peace (“a mutual love of Falafel and terrible dance music”), and the Obama healthcare plan. “I think I’ve figured it out,” Kimmel says, addressing the President. “you’re not from Kenya. It’s even worse. You’re from Canada.”
Finally Kimmel gets around to Mitt Romney yet can only muster the bland joke that the GOP presidential candidate was “picked out of a Land’s End catalogue”. And this one. “You can’t have a beer with him because he doesn’t drink. You can’t have a cup of coffee with him because he can’t have caffeine. You can’t even play Monopoly with him because he keeps trying to put the dog on the car.”
Kimmel closed with, ”I’d like to thank Jake Tapper for writing all the jokes you didn’t like.” (Reference to the ABC White House correspondent.) Kimmel’s routine ends after about 40 minutes with a high five of the President.
UPDATE 7:00 PM: The President starts off with a live mic joke of him lamenting tonight’s dinner and tolerating he has to “open for Jimmy Kimmel”, or the cast of Glee being invited. Then the President says to the audience: “Delighted to see the cast members of Glee out here. And, Jimmy Kimmel, it’s an honor, man.”
Obama continues, “We gather during a historical anniversary. Last year we finally delivered justice to one of the world’s most notorious individuals.” Of course everyone thought he meant Bin Laden. But the audience howls when a picture of Donald Trump is shown on the screen.