"You want to know the real reason why I wasn't in the White House Situation Room on September 11, 2012? Because Michelle would have kicked me in my mom jeans if she caught me in that room in a bad situation with Beyoncé."
Don't expect President Obama to tell that joke tonight at the White House Correspondents Dinner tonight for two reasons. One reason is that it makes reference to his notable absence from the Situation Room during the Benghazi attack as confirmed by the "Dude" guy on Fox a few days ago and Obama prefers that we not be reminded of this. The other reason is that the joke would make fun of himself. According to Daily Beast writer Dean Obeidallah, previous presidents such as Reagan, both Bush's, and Clinton fell short in the comedy department because they told self-deprecating jokes at those dinners. And although Obama had for awhile kept up the tradition by also made fun of himself, he somehow advanced humor by switching to attacking others by "weaponizing comedy." Here is Obeidallah, heaping comedic praise upon Obama for attacking conservatives:
This Saturday night, President Obama will kill! Kill with comedy, that is, at this year’s annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
Simply put: Obama is the greatest president ever in terms of using comedy. I can already hear the (faux) outrage to my comment from the right, but objectively speaking, Obama has truly redefined the way presidents use comedy.
How? According to Obeidallah by stopping with the warm self-deprecating jokes and and engaging in mean spirited attacks via "weaponed comedy."
For starters, Obama has handled the WHCD far differently than past presidents. Typically, they would offer self-deprecating jokes, such as Ronald Reagan mocking his own age and Bill Clinton poking fun at himself for being “chunky.”
And George W. Bush, a man who should be inducted to the Comedy Hall of Fame for all the material he gave comedians, even stood side by side with a Bush impersonator at the 2006 WHCD where Bush mocked his struggles to speak English and for being intellectually challenged.
Obama has changed that. True, at the WHCDs in 2009 and 2010 he gave us the traditional fare of self-deprecating jokes and playfully mocking others, such as this quip: “In the next hundred days, I will learn to go off the prompter and Joe Biden will learn to stay on the prompter.”
But then in 2011 he weaponized comedy, slicing and dicing his political rivals in the same way a comedian deals with a heckler. Let’s call this WHCD Smackdown I. I can tell you from firsthand experience that there’s nothing more effective—and satisfying—than causing a room full of people to laugh at your opponents or their views. Sure it’s comedy, but the barbs have messages embedded in them.
Obeidallah then chronicles some of Obama's attack jokes upon Michelle Bachmann, Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan among others. He even recommends that 2016 presidential candidates demonstrate equal pettiness by engaging in the same kind of comedy.
The presidential candidates thinking of running in 2016 might want to take notes Saturday night. You better learn how to tell more than speeches—you better know how to deliver some cutting one-liners if you ever want to play the big room.
Perhaps not such a good idea. The video below demonstrates the hazards of "weaponized comedy" when Julius Caesar used attack jokes in the big room that killed them...or rather him..