The prime minister of Denmark, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, got the biggest laughs of the evening at the Nordic state dinner Friday, prompting President Obama to declare that they’d found the host of next year’s White House correspondents’ dinner.

“The first time you invited me into the Oval Office, Mr. President, you said that Denmark is punching above our weight. It made me proud,” Rasmussen said. “Now some six years later I understand that not only Denmark, but all the Nordic countries are punching above their weight? Nevertheless, I’m still proud.”

Rasmussen ran though a list of celebrities of Nordic descent, including Scarlett Johansson, Julia Roberts and Uma Thurman. “And the Norweigans? Well, they gave you Karl Rove.”


U.S. President Barack Obama toasts with Lars Lokke Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark, during a state dinner. (Joshua Roberts/ Reuters)

Rasmussen told Obama that when he gets frustrated he cooks to let off steam and advised the president to do the same. “I think you could be inspired by the new Nordic cuisine. It already involves such things moss, bark and ants,” he said, “But you could be helpful in our search for a recipe for lame duck.”

Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, prime minister of Iceland, got his biggest laugh after noting that “the population of Iceland is 1,000 times smaller than that of the United States.”

“We do not hide behind our apparent lack of superpower status. What we lack in manpower, we make up in volcanoes.” But, he added, “We are still figuring out how to aim them.”


US President Barack Obama shakes hands with Icelandic Prime Minister Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson during a state dinner. (Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images)

Obama took the opportunity to poke a little fun at our Nordic neighbors, at one point noting some peculiar television fare. “Another show involves a video camera being strapped to the front of a train so viewers can watch the rails, for seven hours,” he said. “That sounds like riveting entertainment.”

But, he promised, “we’re not going to do anything that crazy tonight.”

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