Is Jay Leno really the best the White House could do as the sub-headliner at the annual Correspondents dinner? Where were Martin Short or Dick Cheney? Leno followed Barack Obama, who was glad to speak first: “We’ve all seen what happens when somebody takes the time slot after Leno’s.” No kidding. But still. Leno after Obama is like getting James Michener to follow William Faulkner at the Nobel prize ceremony, Sarah Palin to hand out diplomas after a Hillary Clinton commencement address. Then again in Washington if you can follow Thurgood Marshall with Clarence Thomas, Ted Kennedy with Scott Brown and anything under the sun with George W. Bush, Leno following Obama looks almost presidential.
Leno out-and-out bombed, though as Daniel Kurtzman transcribed, he had a few good lines:
“As you know, a lot of Republicans couldn’t be here tonight because it is $1 drink night at the bondage clubs.”
“Michael Steele is here. Where’s Michael? This has got to be pretty boring entertainment for you isn’t it? This has got to be pretty boring entertainment for you, isn’t it? I know what you guys are used to. That was my favorite story: Republicans in a lesbian bondage club. Republicans don’t want lesbians marrying, but they do like to watch them tie the knot.”
“Washington is a very scary place. Between Republicans going to bondage clubs, and the SEC looking at porn, I can’t wait to get back to Hollywood — somewhere wholesome, where people have values.”
Nothing comparable to Obama though, who even pulled one out on poor Charlie Crist after warning that odds were that famous White House party crashers Tareq and Michaele Salahi were at the dinner: “There haven’t been people that were more unwelcome at a party since Charlie Crist.”
Obama’s line about Perdator drones going after any boys with ideas to mess with Sasha and Malia was almost as good as his best one, on John McCain: “John McCain couldn’t make it. He said he had never identified himself as a maverick. We all know what happens in Arizona when you don’t have ID. Adios, amigos.”
Here, watch the whole thing. It’s better than anything you might catch on the real comedic chat shows that are the Sunday morning clubs from Greet the Press to Face the Same Usual Ageing White Suspects: