May 9th, 2009
03:05 PM ET
9 years ago

Barack Obama: President and Comedian?

President Obama will speak at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner on Saturday.

President Obama will speak at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner on Saturday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - It's one of the biggest nights in the nation's capital - DC's version of the Academy Awards.

I'm talking about the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner, a tradition that dates back to the 1920's. It's also a tradition that the president attends the dinner and makes jokes, often at his own expense.

With a new and popular president now in the White House, there's more attention than usual on tonight's dinner.

One big question: Will Barack Obama be funny? We don't often see the comedic side of this president.

We got a taste, or a preview, last October, when then-presidential candidate Obama teamed up with his rival, Sen. John McCain, at the annual Al Smith charity dinner in New York City.

"Who is Barack Obama?" said the then-senator from Illinois. "Contrary to the rumors you have heard, I was not born in a manger. I was actually born on Krypton and sent here by my father Jor El to save the planet Earth."

Obama also made fun of his middle name, Hussein, saying "I got my middle name from somebody who obviously didn't think I'd ever run for President."

But an unscripted attempt at humor put President Obama in some hot water.

In March, Obama went on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," becoming the first sitting president to be a guest on the late night talk shows.

Obama, making fun of his skills as a bowler, said "I bowled a 129."

He went on to make a comparison to his bowling, saying "It's like, it was like Special Olympics, or something."

Those comments created a minor controversy at the time, and the president called the head of the Special Olympics to apologize.

But unlike those off-the-cuff comments, tonight's speech by Obama will be scripted.

Will it be funny? We'll find out later tonight.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (238 Responses)
  1. Ted:Canada

    WOW! some of you guys are in a real HATE mood?

    you are ready to pounce on whatever is said about this President

    Here are some suggests to help you with your anger!

    1. Go in front of a miror and yell as loud as you can – "my moma loved me no matter what people say" cry a bit and you should be ok after 20 minutes

    2. Join the Taliban – they think like you do – and let them know you are working undercover for the CIA – that should do it!

    3. Find a roof – at least one storey but possibly more if you can – then JUMP and see if you can land on your head – then as fast as you can come back to this chat line and tell us how much better you are feeling.

    In all three cases you will find that your problems have all cleared up!

    May 9, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  2. Richard A. Spomer, Alexandria, VA

    There needs to more openness, and education on the issue of Disabilities and the Inclusion there of. It is clear that race is taking a much larger; and more important roll than that of Disabilities, where as blacks are readily using disabilities as a form to get cash, medications, and other resources.

    May 9, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  3. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    President Obama does have a keen sense of humor that he uses publicly and not behind closed doors. That's what I call keeping it real and not being phony.

    May 9, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  4. Brian in AZ

    It's scripted? Then it'll be funny and fine–the only ruffled feathers will be the grilled chickens'.

    It's Obama sans teleprompter that's problematic.

    May 9, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  5. sene

    all the funny moments out weighs the one Jay leno moment--media media tisk tisk.

    May 9, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  6. Linda

    Yeah, with scripted comments we won't find out what he really has on his mind;definitely safer for him.

    May 9, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  7. Joyce Becker

    I'm sure he will come up with some good lines, perhaps his team will help him some what. Obama has a dry sense of humor, hope they catch on. Of Course Bush was able to be a lot funnier even if it was not on purpose as there was a lot more for him to choose from.

    May 9, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  8. GOP RIP

    Thank you, God, for giving us an intelligent, intellectual, analytical, articulate, (genuinely) well-educated, charming, engaging, handsome and confident POTUS...this time. President Obama is also an outstanding husband and father. The United States of America and the rest of the world are truly blessed!


    May 9, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  9. Texas voter

    When does he ever work for America??? All he does is PR and continued "speaking engagements." He is not a public servant working on the behalf of the people. He is all about himself, the limelight and MORE POWER. For the first time in my adult life, I am not proud of my country.

    May 9, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  10. TCM

    He's a joke alright; and I'm sure his teleprompter will deliver the comedy...and the MSM will swoon, and his brainless supporters will trite of an article's those last place ratings feeling about now?

    May 9, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  11. rich

    Geez what is it with you people all concentrating on Palin, get over it all ready.

    May 9, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  12. donkeycrap Lies

    Just a empty suit...

    May 9, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  13. chris

    Ya, he is a big Joke!

    May 9, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  14. Balthazar

    Actually, President Obama is lying. He was indeed born in a manger. I know 'cause I was there. You see, me and two of my brothers were following this big, bright star that had suddenly appeared in the sky. It was late one night and we were looking for a motel. We came upon this barn-lookin' kinda thing, that was already occupied by a small family with a baby. The baby's name, as it turned out, was Barack. When we asked if we could share the barn with them, the baby, much to everyone's amazement, sat up in his crib and shouted "Yes you can!" The rest, of course, is history.

    May 9, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  15. anita

    all this public dislay of affection for a man drowning the country in spending, debt and waste.
    yes, he is the same type of government man than means, "do as I say, not as I do"

    May 9, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  16. TCM

    @ HAD IT –

    Hah! that's great! CNN = E GOSSIP....that sums up the credibility; puts them neck and neck with the National Enquirer, reporting on some woman giving birth to a alien...

    May 9, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  17. Brad W.

    Lori... you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. You are what happens when someone has no idea about anything, then stumbles upon someone whom they think is a "saviour". The grand part is that this is precisely how they draw it up in the marketing before the campaign. Then sheep like you get suckered in. No President before or now ever cared about you individually, they have a Nation to run. The only legitimate position to take is in opposition to any administration, because unchecked power will always corrupt. Obama-ites now and Bush-ites before should learn that somewhere along the line. There is little difference between the parties, but they make it look so big. At the end of the day money motivates, and your idealism goes out the window.

    May 9, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  18. kenny cole

    Texas voter or what did you call your self,are you better of the past 8yrs? you will never be proud of your country till you die haters get over it or go to afghan

    May 9, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  19. kanan krishnan

    hey, i have an idea..why don't we invite the italian clown Berlusconi as a foreign dignatary. nobody is funnier and more ignorant than him for now. he will definitely make our belly ache.

    May 9, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  20. Ross

    CNN, get your facts right. Instead of recycling the talking point about how no president has gone on the Tonight Show and that Obama is the first, look back in history to confirm this. You don't even have to look that far. President Kennedy was on the Tonight Show in the 60's. The media is so lazy they wouldn't know what responsible journalism is if it hit them in the head.

    May 9, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  21. Rodney from Indy

    With everything the Republicans have done to this country, he has a ton of fodder to rely on. It would be pretty funny, though, to read some of these racist, pathetic comments from these morons who have issues with grammar, and the truth.

    May 9, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  22. amt, CA

    Pres Obama has done an excellent job & people who say otherwise are from the party of "no" & no matter what Obama does they are out to tear him down. I am confident tonite will be another outstanding event for Pres Obama who will do a fantastic job.

    May 9, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  23. Nate

    I think his Special Olympics joke was his best one yet! I think it would be funny if he said something about the Republican party being a very "special" party, and then winked at the camera! haha hilarious!

    May 9, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  24. whaley41

    Hey Otto, did liberals and the media say Bush was only human when he made a goof. Nope! They made fun of him for weeks and weeks.

    May 9, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  25. Ben

    Actually he is no joke. Graduating magna cum laude from Harvard law takes brains....and just for the books, if he uses a teleprompter at least (so far) he dosen't sound like a uneducated texan' that laughs at his own jokes and babbles non-existant words in his speeches.

    May 9, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
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