Inside the Borscht Beltway

At the White House Correspondents dinner in Washington on April 30, President Obama and Saturday Night Live head writer Seth Meyers produced more skewers between them than contestants in a Food Network shish kebab competition. Here are some of the top jokes, starting with the president’s good-natured barbs aimed at National Public Radio and possible political opponent Donald Trump, who was in the audience:

“[W]here is the National Public Radio table? I know you were a little tense when the GOP tried to cut your funding, but personally I was looking forward to new programming like No Things Considered or Wait, Wait…Don’t Fund Me.”

“[J]ust recently, in an episode of Celebrity Apprentice at the steakhouse, the men’s cooking team did not impress the judges from Omaha Steaks. And there was a lot of blame to go around. But you, Mr. Trump, recognized that the real problem was a lack of leadership. And so, ultimately, you didn’t blame Lil’ Jon or Meat Loaf. You fi red Gary Busey. And these are the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night. Well handled, sir. Well handled.”

Meyers ranged far and wide, but opened with shots at the network covering the event. “C-SPAN is one unpaid electric bill away from being a radio station,” he said. Then came the zinger: “People think bin Laden is hiding in the Hindu Kush [mountains], but did you know that every day from 4 to 5 he hosts a show on C-SPAN?” (That joke came only hours before bin Laden’s killing by U.S. forces at his Pakistan compound in the city of Abbottabad.)

Myers also used C-SPAN to zing his own network, saying that with the four screens he was projected on at the dinner, he became “the third-highest-rated show on NBC.”


John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.