We always knew it would be impossible to top last year’s hilarious and secretly dramatic White House Correspondents Dinner, when President Obama slammed Donald Trump – and secretly knew the attack on Osama Bin Laden was underway. But this year’s version had its own even edgier tone.
The President began by alluding to last year, when “We finally delivered justice to one of the world’s most notorious individuals…” before a photo of Trump flashed in screen. You could see the Trump joke coming, but it was very satisfying anyway.
So was much of the President’s routine, which wonderfully skewered Mitt Romney and his dog-handling tactics, and Arianna Huffington. In the guise of congratulating the Huffington Post on its Pulitzer Prize, he added, “and you don’t pay them – it’s a great business model.”
He never quite recovered from a joke that fell flatter-than-flat, about the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull: the pit bull tastes delicious. But even that joke suggested that Obama wanted to take some risks – imagine the jokes he’ll be able to tell when he isn’t confined by his presidential role.
The President’s routine set up an uneven but generally funny one from Jimmy Kimmel, who seemed a bit nervous, and uncomfortably read from papers in his hand rather than a Teleprompter. But he gently and often effectively mocked Republicans and Democrats, including the President. He even got into the night’s doggie theme, welcoming one of the unaccountable celebrity guests, Uggie the dog from The Artist. “He can roll over on command,” Kimmel said of Uggie. “He’s a Democrat.”