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. Lynn West Bloomfield, Michigan

    President Obama will be what he always is – intelligent, genteel, kind, compassionate, gorgeous, charming, and a wonderful world leader!

    The haters will continue to hate no matter what he does.

    Hmmmmm wonder who will keel over dead first from too much cortisol and adrenalin?

    May 9, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  2. Ed Hartman

    Obama was terrific at the Al Smith dinner. McCain was even better.

    May 9, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  3. RB

    It's really frightening that someone as ignorant as "Texas voter" actually has a vote. For the first time in your adult life you're "not proud of our country?" Based upon your blog I wouldn't have guessed you were an adult at all.

    May 9, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  4. tommy perkins

    You know we knew during the elections that there were going to be people out there that would not like Obama no mater what he did. Even if somehow he took the entire earth and revered global warming and make it so every one lived in the garden of eden. He would still have hatters. But I have one thing to say since you say people that don't support torture and war and rich elite theives are brainless and whatever. Why won't you guys be real with yourselves and tell the real reason you don'tlike him. HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

    May 9, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  5. Jean in Georgia

    Those of us who know he is such an improvement over what we had before can see that he has charm, intelligence and a sense of humor. Those (the minority) who also know he is better than what we had before, but cannot admit it, will find fault with any thing this man says. Who needs their opinion?

    May 9, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  6. Lauren

    I'm looking forward to watching tonight's dinner. President Obama has a great sense of humor that is obvious in a variety of settings.

    President Obama is a genuinely caring, intelligent, articulate, peaceful, well-humored person who puts his beautiful family first. I think we'll see more of President Obama's humor tonight that I know he's excited to engage in.

    Barack Obama has made me proud to be an American again like so many others I know. He has restored America's positive world image and I am proud to call him President Obama.

    Thank you for all the incredible triumphs you have completed so far, Mr. President. Thank you.

    May 9, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  7. dee

    Why is everyone so worked up over this one President? (Here it comes) ... Is it because he's half black?..... I tell you, a lot of people are looking pretty unsophistacated in my opinion. I don't even understand why this is news haven't other Presidents joked in the past? We have a president that is actually TRYING and it seems to freak some people out. Do we not deserve better then that last 8 years? Or maybe some can't believe that he's actually doing so well? Whatever the case may be I'm glad to have a President that's TRYING!

    May 9, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  8. The Broker.

    But much, much, much, more of a Joker.

    May 9, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  9. Dave C - NJ

    Obama has put in more hours in first 100 days than all 8 years of Bush, 4 years of the other Bush, and that senile Ronald Reagan combined.

    May 9, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  10. Bud

    Obama is already a joke. His walking up to the podium will be nothing more than the punch line.

    May 9, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  11. Dave C - NJ

    Ask all these saps on here trashing Obama who they voted for in 2008 and 2004. I rest my case.

    May 9, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  12. tommy perkins

    And texas voter tell me this you say for the first time you are not proud of your country. Tell me what's different. Cause unless you are very young you have had a democrat president before right? So what's changed?

    May 9, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  13. Rhonda Johnson

    President Obama will be funny but he should not give republicans something to use against him... They will be there smiling but plotting at the same time... But guess what republicans and all those haters... No weapon formed against him shall prosper.

    May 9, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  14. Adam

    Apparently in Texas you only have to be four months old to vote.

    May 9, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  15. sue

    Dear Professional Liberal Blogger "GOP RIP",
    How do you know that Obama is intelligent, intellectual, analytical, articulate, and Finally well-educated?
    He spent high school in a drunken, drugged haze(as per his own words), he won't give up his grades from college(Occidental or the Ivies), he seems analytical b/c he has to get his hundreds of advisors to tell him the answer, and he's articulate b/c then those advisors put the words on the teleprompter.
    Finally well-educated? You need to get out of the hypnotic state you're in!

    May 9, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  16. Michelle Obama 2016

    If you aren't going to give him credit for doing things right. Than why should we listen to you whine and cry when he makes mistakes? You all seem to act like he can't have any free time. Most Presidents have 3 things on their plate when they enter office. Obama has about 15 fol;lowing the worst President in history, He still find time to wipe of the ugly Bush caused us.

    May 9, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  17. Mike

    He's lucky he's a good president. I saw footage of the Al Smith dinner and he is NOT a good comedian. His material was good, but his delivery left much to be desired. He laughed at his own jokes–a no-no.

    Stick to leading the free world, Mr. President. That's what you're good at. You have no future in comedy, no matter what the MSM says.

    May 9, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  18. Doc Ray

    For a change, we have a President who is intelligent and funny (as against Bush who was unintentionally funny but dumb as a tumbleweed). We're going through another Camelot with a newer, hipper, well-tanned JFK respected throughout the world and loved here at home by a majority of Americans. The conservatives of course are the only ones who still miss the humor of the evil three stooges, Bush, Chaney and Rumsfeld.

    May 9, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  19. Steve

    Right-wingers who go on and on about the teleprompter (which every President uses) because they're defensive about the fact that their guy was a blithering idiot, and our guy is not.

    Carry on.

    May 9, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  20. ilovebush

    Texas voter : What do you mean by work? Sitting in isolation at the WH and delegating everything to VP and the cabinet? You can call Obama many things but not working is the most hypocritical comment you can ever make. Bah!

    May 9, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  21. Stu-Florida

    His intellegence, his wit, his humor and last but certainly not least, his PLANS.

    Get it you reptilious Repubs. PLANS.. Shed the cold blooded hate scales and skin for someone with PLANS to make our country great again! Don't miss the operative word here... PLANS... not silence!

    The warmblooded among us... the human factor... with a sense of humor, unite!

    May 9, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  22. JR

    Hey Barack, here a joke I heard the other day, try it:

    Levi Johnston, the former fiance of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol says he hopes they can reconcile at some point. He cited a popular Alaska phrase: "Four words: Make up sex."

    May 9, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  23. Marie MD

    ib and moses (not named for the "great" one obviously or at least you are mindless)
    far left wingnut as opposed to the far right wingnut real nut who buried this country in the last eight years?
    I am sure, moses, that you have never watched a televised press conference where the President answers questions without a teleprompter. Then again you are used to the pinhead we had who couldn't put one thought together.
    Give it up! You lost the election and it had nothing to do with who can read better.

    May 9, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  24. truth......


    the real idiots in this country were people like you....who supported a president that destroyed everything we worked what if it is scripted...IT'S NICE TO HAVE A PRESIDENT WHO THINKS STUFF THROUGH FOR A CHANGE....then some dude who makes irrational decisions.....i rather have him script everything he does...........stop worrying about people who support him and worry about the state of your party.......b/cuz right now.....there is one party in the US......and im glad it's that way...b/cuz it will take 20+ years to fix this country

    May 9, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  25. Grady Joseph

    Do you all think that Obama is the first President to use a Teleprompter or something? All presidents use them, even youre beloved republicans, its the only way to deliver a proper speech when the entire world is watching you. You all hate on the teleprompter because you have nothing else to dislike about the man, good job!

    May 9, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
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