Eric Cantor jokes fly at press dinner

Actor and comedian Nick Offerman, best known for his role as Ron Swanson on "Parks and Recreation," entertained and mocked Washington on Thursday night at the annual Radio Television Correspondents Association dinner. (CSPAN)

One upside of former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s sudden primary loss this week:  it makes for great comedic fodder.

The news appeared like a gift from the gods to joke writers crafting the (hopefully) funny lines delivered onstage at the annual Radio and Television Correspondents Association dinner on Thursday night, providing a refreshing addition to the canon of political-joke tropes (House Speaker Boehner is tan; President Obama’s ears are big, etc., yawn).

White House chief of staff Denis McDonough, in his first outing as a funnyman, riffed about the impromptu outings that President Obama has recently been embarking on, from strolling the Mall to going on burger runs. “It gets kind of frustrating — if I wanted a boss who’s on his way out when no one expects it, I would have tried to work for Eric Cantor,” he said.

Ooh, snap!

At the annual Radio Television Correspondents Association dinner Thursday, White House chief of staff Denis McDonough made a rare speech full of self-deprecating jokes and poking fun at his boss, President Obama; Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.); and the media. (The Washington Post)

Up next, Nick Offerman, the professional comedian headlining the dinner, asked the crowd if they had heard Cantor’s news. “He tragically got himself a job at FOX,” the “Parks and Recreation” star joked.

Even CNN’s Lisa Desjardins, the RTCA dinner chairwoman who was emceeing the event, got in a dig at the deposed Republican leader as she attempted to shush the buzzing crowd, warning Cantor’s staffers to “stop handing  out business cards.”

As for McDonough’s maiden voyage on the dinner circuit, he was characteristically low-key, delivering his lines with a laconic, dry demeanor. Sample joke: Speaking of his tenure as a high-school and middle school teacher, McDonough said, “seems like only yesterday I was roaming crowded hallways that were teeming with unchecked egos, adolescent gossip, and plagued by mean-spirited bullying. Actually, I’m pretty sure that was yesterday.”

Asked afterwards how he thought it went, he seemed anxious for a review. “How do you think it went?” he asked.

Surely he was well prepared — so we asked what had been the best advice he’d gotten about the gig. “The best tip was everything my colleagues wrote for me,” he said.

Read more Reliable Source:

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Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.
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