Here's the early report of last night's annual White House Correspondents Association dinner:
Rich Little, with shockingly dyed hair, said at the outset that he is “not political” but rather a “nightclub performer who does a lot of dumb, stupid jokes,” then proved that.
He started with a couple of Canada (his native country) jokes and a weak Sen. John McCain, which bombed, as did an impression of.Arnold Schwarzenegger, causing him to look at the crowd askance. “You thought Colbert was bad,” he finally joked.
With that he pulled out one of his classics, Johnny Carson, with a joke about lawyers being “assholes,” which drew a laugh from the president, despite the off-color language.
Then he did Andy Rooney asking: “If you overdosed on Viagra how would you get the coffin closed?”
Little followed by doing six presidents, including a man he “loved,” Ronald Reagan. He put in false teeth to play Jimmy Carter saying that when he was a peanut farmer “I had the biggest nuts in the county.”
As the presidents got more recent, the impressions got weaker: George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton and then possibly the worst impression of all, the current president. But he closed with the one he is most famous for, Richard Nixon, saying, “Let’s bring him out of the mothballs one more time.”
Little proceeded to do Nixon shaking his head uncontrollably, quipping, "I’m having a jowl movement.”
Speaking to E&P afterward, probably aware that his routine went over rather poorly, he said, "this is not the easiest audience in the world." But he said Bush told him when it was over, "absolutely perfect."
Some in the crowd walked out in the middle of the routine-- far more than left during Colbert's performance last year.
Ah yes. Andy Rooney-Viagra jokes. This year's dinner isn't likely to get as many You Tube hits as last year's, is it?
It's sad to realize that Little's triumph was that more guests walked out on him than on Colbert the year before. Actually, I'm not sure who should be more disheartened by that.
Correction: In our January 23, 2007, post, we wrote:
There will come a point at this year's gathering when, after schmoozing and dining with the very people they're supposed to be watching out for, all the swells will loosen their cummerbunds or slip off their heels, sit back . . . and realize to their horror that they're going to be forced to spend the next 25 minutes trying to digest the lamb brochettes in mint and coriander while listening to a stand-up act by someone who played a murderer on "Hawaii Five-O."
We were mistaken. According to Examiner.com:
Guests will dine on bourbon brown sugar shrimp with chipotle appetizer alongside a terrine of white corn and butternut squash and greens with peach citrus viniagrette.
The upscale salmon is twinned with a petite filet in a rich cafe au lait sauce and green peppercorns. Caramelized onion mashed potatoes will also make an appearance.
As for dessert, well, sorry, that’s a virtual state secret, but we can report that the unusual twin pastries combine mango mousse and chocolate espresso.
As our readers will note, it was a completely different menu that sat like lead inside the slowly horrified audience as they listened to a stand-up act by someone who played a murderer on "Hawaii Five-O." Everyone here at p3 deeply, deeply regrets the error.