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Live updates: White House correspondents’ dinner 2016

April 30, 2016
  • Amy Argetsinger
  • ·

Well, that was an interesting dinner.

President Obama waves after speaking at the dinner. From left: comedian Larry Wilmore, first lady Michelle Obama and Jerry Seib of The Wall Street Journal. (Susan Walsh/AP)

President Obama’s eighth and final comedic speech for the annual gathering of the White House Correspondents’ Association was heavy on end-of-term self-deprecation (“Hillary once questioned whether I’d be awake for the 3 a.m. phone call: Now I’m awake anyway cause I have to go to the bathroom”) and heavier on jokes about an absence Donald Trump (“is this dinner too tacky for The Donald?”) — though he seemed to hold back just a bit in a seemingly uneasy room.

We’ll be analyzing this speech for a while. Perhaps not the finest of his well-regarded comic riffs — but his bit with an in-on-the-joke John Boehner will be remembered as a highlight of bipartisan cooperation.

Read more in Paul Farhi’s story of the evening: For Obama’s final correspondents’ dinner, the obvious targets: Trump, Cruz and himself

Who knows how history will regard the routine by Comedy Central’s Larry Wilmore. By some accounts from within the room, he was dying up there; big segments of the audience recoiled from his withering slams on Wolf Blitzer, Brian Williams and the president’s drone warfare strategy.

We have completed our live coverage of the event, but please scroll down for more presidential humor, celebrity sightings, red carpet fashion and other odd encounters.

Also:

How Helen Mirren won the White House correspondents’ dinner — before it even started

The details on Michelle Obama’s WHCD dress

The night the White House upstaged White House correspondents’ weekend

  • Mitch Rubin
  • ·
  • Emily Yahr
  • ·

“In less than a year, you’ll be playing golf every day, so things won’t be that different,” Wilmore says of Obama’s final year in office.

He tells Obama to not leave behind anything in the White House, or the next president moving in will be confused: “What’s cocoa butter?”

“When it’s all said and done, after eight years in the White House, we are really going to miss Michelle,” he added.

  • Abby Ohlheiser
  • ·

Larry Wilmore finally brought up the very persistent Internet conspiracy theory asserting that Ted Cruz, a man who wants to be president, is the Zodiac Killer.

The Post’s own Philip Bump has done the important work of debunking this theory, in part because Ted Cruz was about two years old during the Zodiac Killer’s period of activity.

“He’s smart, but it seems unlikely that he could develop a three-part cipher and send it to various California newspapers before he was potty-trained,” Bump writes.

  • Mitch Rubin
  • ·

  • Emily Yahr
  • ·

“I can’t understand why everyone treats Donald Trump with kid gloves, and then I realize they’re the only gloves that’ll fit his stupid little baby hands.”

  • Emily Yahr
  • ·

Wilmore adds, “Even O.J. Simpson said, ‘That guy is just hard to like.'”

There’s a rumor going around the Internet that Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer. “That’s absurd,” Willmore says. “Some people actually liked the Zodiac Killer.”

  • Emily Yahr
  • ·

Wilmore takes on Bernie Sanders’s age: “Bernie’s so old when God said ‘Let there be light’ Bernie said, ‘Conserve energy, let’s sit in the dark.”

Then he pivoted back to Hillary Clinton, saying she’s had awkward run-ins with Black Lives Matter: “You know it’s bad when her response is ‘Can’t we talk about Benghazi? Please?’ “

  • Abby Ohlheiser
  • ·

The crowd is pretttttty tense about Wilmore’s series of burns against many of the media organizations and personalities in the room. One of them, CNN’s Don Lemon, was caught on camera responding to a joke about him with a rude gesture.

  • Emily Yahr
  • ·

“2016 has been a beast. We lost David Bowie, Merle Haggard, Prince,” Wilmore starts. “Or as Hillary Clinton calls it ‘my favorite singer, my favorite singer, my favorite singer.’ ”

There are few laughs. Wilmore shrugs it off.

  • Emily Yahr
  • ·

Wilmore’s targets: C-SPAN (“C-SPAN is the number one network among people who died watching TV and no one’s found them yet.”) and CNN’s countdown clock: “Now we can see exactly when they hit zero in the ratings.”

Meanwhile, he says, MSNBC stands for “Missing a Significant Number of Black Correspondents.”

  • Emily Yahr
  • ·

Wilmore asks who Obama’s killing tonight, since Osama bin Laden was killed the weekend of the 2011 White House correspondents’ dinner. The punchline is, of course, newspapers: “Can’t be print journalism, that industry’s been dead for a while now!”

  • Emily Yahr
  • ·

“Your hair is so white it tried to punch me at a Trump rally,” Wilmore says. “You came in here looking like Denzel, you go out looking like Grady from ‘Sanford & Son.’ I know it’s a dated reference, but you’re dated, Mr. President!”

  • Abby Ohlheiser
  • ·

“I am a black man, who replaced a white man, who pretended to be a TV newscaster,” Larry Wilmore said. He then added, referring to the man who replaced Brian Williams on NBC Nightly News, “‘Lester Holt and I have a lot in common.”

  • Emily Yahr
  • ·

“Speaking of drones, how is Wolf Biltzer still on television?” Wilmore says. He projects a winner of the night: “Anyone who isn’t watching ‘The Situation Room.'”

Blitzer, to say the least, doesn’t look amused.

  • Emily Yahr
  • ·

“Welcome to Negro Night,” Larry Wilmore starts. “Or as Fox News will report…’Two thugs disrupt elegant dinner in DC.'”

He jokes that next year’s event will be titled, “Donald Trump presents a luxurious meeting paid for by Mexico.”

  • Abby Ohlheiser
  • ·

“Obama out.”

OBAMAOUT

  • Mitch Rubin
  • ·
  • Abby Ohlheiser
  • ·

Turning more serious, Obama spoke about several of the journalists in the room.

“A free press is why we once again honor Jason Rezaian.” Obama said of The Washington Post journalist.

Noting Rezaian’s absence last year at this event – he was still being held in solitary confinement in Iran – Obama said, “This year, we see that courage in the flesh.” Obama vowed to continue to use his office, as long as he’s president to work to free journalists who are held against their will.

  • Abby Ohlheiser
  • ·

“—- you, Chuck Todd,” Obama said in a pre-taped video joking about his decision to stay in Washington, D.C., so that his youngest kid can finish school after he leaves office. The line came at the end of a montage of TV reporters making jokes about the decision.

The video also contains something of a tradition for Obama’s sense of humor — a couple of birther jokes as Obama goes to the DMV to get a driver’s license again.

Obama also watches “Toy Story” with former House speaker John Boehner, who gives him advice. “You can just be you for awhile,” Boehner advises.

“Yesterday, I had a beer at 11:30 in the morning,” Boehner adds. He also tempts the president with a cigarette.

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