Didnt his non-laughter and icy glare just prove how thin-skinned he really is?
Does body language ever lie?
Why did you invite Donald Trump to the dinner? Do you approve of him making slanderous allegations about the President?
"We"---if you mean the Reliable Source or news department--- did not. Trump is an old friend of Lally Weymouth, daughter of the late Katharine Graham and mother of our current publisher. She issued the invitation; unclear if it was before or during the birther flap. But asking him as a guest is not an endorsement of his political views.We also asked Speaker Boehner to be our guests at the dinner, and not everyone always sees eye to eye on policy issues.
I trust that you understand its possible for reporters (and non-media types) to sit at a table and behave like civil adults without agreeing with everything (or anything) they say.
Did the President take Seth Meyer's advice and find Bin Laden at C-Span, or did they really find him in Pakistan?
I don't think we'll ever truly know. So much black ops.
Isn't it great that reporters and other members of the media get to spend a night schmoozing, drinking, and indulging in excess with the politicans they're supposed to cover? Events like this shine such a bright light on the mainstream media. I can't for the life of me understand why much of the public is so cyncial about the media.
Dude, that critique is so 2002. I'll defend the dinner -- or what it was originally supposed to be -- by noting that covering newsmakers doesn't mean you can't break bread with them once a year or so, and that reporters do these kinds of things to sucker newsmakers into giving them information.
If you want to keep up to date with the latest in WHCD criticism, check in with Dana Milbank, who excoriated the flood of corporate and lobbying dollars into this affair.
Or, ask us -- and we'll tell you the problem is that showbiz celebrities are now shoving all the pols and journalists out of the action.
Did ScarJo and Sean Penn sit together?
Not at the dinner---they were at separate tables. And they mingled separately at Vanity Fair's after-party for a while, until they started the neck kisses and other PDAs.
It gives me such glee to realize, that while Obama was ribbing Trump the Chump about decisions that keep you up at night, he knew about the plan to attack Osama Bin Laden's compound. That makes his jab so much richer.
We're all replaying the evening in our head, analyzing every quip and gesture of the president for new insight into what was going on that night...
A) The ability to deliver speeches laced with "F" and "MF" bombs as Donald Trump demonstrated in Vegas last week in referring to how he'd deal with China and others in Washington DC; or B) Barak Obama's smile as displayed during the White House Correspondents Association Dinner when Seth Meyers joked about OBL.
I have heard that the president choses the comedian for the dinner. Is that true?
The White House Correspondents' Association -- basically, a panel of reporters who cover the president, and put on this dinner to raise scholarship money -- pick the entertainer.
I was at first disappointed that the Post invited Trump to the dinner. Then I watched the dinner. Question: did you lot mean to troll him that hard? If so, thank you for inviting him to the dinner.
Although I doubt that was the intention when he was invited, Trump turned out to be comic gold. I ran into Seth Meyers at one of Friday's parties and introduced myself as a reporter for the Washington Post. He grinned and said, "Thank you for inviting Donald Trump."
So how cool is that that this was after he said to get bin ladin? It is like a James Bond movie or something. Even tuxedos. That's the only word for it. Cool.
Shaken? Or stirred?
I thought it was interesting that the joke about Obama making Kool-aid for MSNBC to drink didn't make it to your poll about the best jokes. Is that because it struck a little too close to home?
No--because it wasn't one of the better jokes.
How does one go about getting a ticket to that event? One of my life dreams is to attend one of those dinners, just once.
The invitations, for the most part, are issued by the media organizations that buy tables at the dinner. So most of the seats go to journalists and their newsroom or corporate overlords, and then to the government/political sources they hope to seduce and impress. Of course, increasingly they're also inviting advertisers, hoping to impress them into buying more ads; and Hollywood celebrities, to impress the advertisers and the government/political sources. In other words -- good luck.
When will this be replayed on television?
Don't know if C-Span is replaying the entire dinner, but you can see videos of Obama and Meyers' speeches on the Reliable Source blog.
Can I just say, Seth Meyers KILLED IT (especially with the Trump jokes)! I thought every quip was spot on, never a dull moment. Kudos to Mr. Meyers. And the President wasn't too shabby either!
Seth, we warned you about crashing the chat.
It seems the consensus that only one person was not amused. Do you think Trump was surprised that most of Washington considers him a joke - or was he "honored" to part of the President's and Meyers' comedy routine?
What can I say -- the reaction in the room was HUGE. I've never sensed that much energy in the room. (Lethargy is the usual reaction.) I'd call it cathartic. You have a press corps that's been tied in knots and vaguely humiliated by this whole Trump thing -- do they cover him, do they not cover him? -- and so to hear those jokes when the man himself was right there. The room was on fire.
I appplaud the President for slicing Trump up so nicely at the dinner and for hisw skill at getting NBC to preemt the last half hour of Celebrity Apprentice !
The president is very skilled at this kind of symbolic jujitsu.
Do not celebrate Obama's bashing Donald Trump. Trump's a bad hair guy who has gone bankrupt more than once and has rebounded. I cannot stand him but how can you not admire him for having the guts to speak the truth? He loves America whereas the person who bashed him is quite suspect as according to his own words in one of his books, he will take the muslim side should he have to choose. How can people continue to be so blind? Debate that. And our leaders do many times show stupidity in many legislative pursuits trying to run this wonderful country.
Wow - you saw the Donald's hair close-up! Do you think he has a hairdresser who travels with him and re-does the thatch each day. His hair always looks clean, but I can't imagine that his thatch/weave/whatever would hold up to repeated washings. Maybe Melania has a degree in re-weaving?
All I can say is Mitt Romney should fall on his knees and thank his maker for Donald Trump.
If Mitt Romney were to fall on his knees, he might dislodge his perfect coif.
As a Norwegian, it is kind of hard to evaluate the appropriateness of President Obama and Mr Rogen's joking. Is Mr Trump's reaction justified or just a schoolyard bully's sulking because he had his ass handed to him on a silver platter?
Do Norwegians also have a hard time evaluating the difference betwen Seth Meyers and Seth Rogen?
I think Trump would have had a chance to ingratiate himself, just a little, if he'd waved or winked or grinned when the jokes were aimed at him. People are always impressed by that kind of grace. However, I'm sure it's not pleasant to hear yourself mocked, so maybe Trump should be applauded for being authentic to what was probably his actual mood rather than putting on a fake smile.
Hurray for whoever did - it's just interesting to consider. How PO'd was Trump at some of the digs? I loved it!
I don't think there was any coordination. It's just, well, this is a media-political dinner, and this is the guy who had dominated the news for the past week -- and there he was in the room. It was inevitable that he would be the focus of much of the humor.
I'm sorry to be argumentative(who am I kidding ? I love it) but there's a vast difference between behaving like an adult with people you disagree with and sending an invitation to a man who has exposed himself as a racist (or as near as one needs to be). Would the Post have invited Mel Gibson ?
Like I said: I didn't invite the guy; the publisher's mom invited him. On the other hand, we don't know if he accepted before the whole birther flap exploded. Anyway, it was awkward---but the jokes turned out to be awesome.
Any idea how the celebs ended up at Passenger? Who suggested it? And did any of them order anything interesting?
I saw Rashida Jones & Co. (followed soon after by Jon Hamm) leave the Atlantic/NationalJournal/FunnyorDie party at Long View Gallery after midnight Friday, and they walked south on 9th Street NW, presumably headed for the Passenger. Not sure how it was recommended to them. A friend who was there said Hamm communed peaceably with the drinking masses, who kept their cool.
I thought Trump's next-day criticism of Seth Meyers was rather mean-spirited. Donald really does take himself very seriously. Do you think all the very pointed barbs made Lally Weymouth uncomfortable?
If they did, she had on her game face.
I heard this joke on meme websites and the radio, and it appears that the funniest joke of the night was: "[Trump has] said he's got a great relationship with 'the blacks.' Unless 'the Blacks' are a family of white people, I think he's mistaken."
I didn't understand the joke made by Seth Myers about the location of the dinner being the "Hilton"; is this a tacky joint or some other kicked-around place or just a kind of "we love it and so we complain about it"?
I think "the Hilton" conjures images of the comfortable-but-not-glamorous. It's not the White House. The dinner was in a multi-purpose "ballroom." And it was very crowded.
I thought this was when the president made fun of himself and jabbed the press. This was an ugly, ugly mean spirited fool making of Republicans. I was so uncomfortable watching it. Was it tense in the room?
Obama did take aim at many major Republican figureheads (except Palin): Pawlenty, Bachmann, Paul Ryan, and on and on, but I don't think it was mean-spirited. He did rib himself about being too "arrogant" or "professorial" (but it's not like those are entirely bad qualities) and he dinged himself for his flagging poll numbers (which are probably on their way back up as we speak). The room rippled with squeamish chuckles when Seth Meyers laid into the media, repeatedly.
Who pays for this event? Taxpayers?
Hardly. It's the media organizations that buy tables. I think it was $300 a few years ago so probably a lot more now.
Not counting the top management or special guests, how does the Washington Post decide who sits at its table at the dinner? Is it based on seniority? Lottery? Are you allowed to bring a plus-one? Do reporters get pouty if they can't go?
Our White House correspondents, of course, and columnists. Reporters actually covering the dinner. A few editors. And a couple of guests. No plus ones---and for every reporter who gets pouty, there are 10 greatly relieved they don't have to go. It's a marathon night. Not for sissies.
Washington Post, doing itself proud.
Why would anyone think this arrogant, incompetent clown is funny? He is the big joke on the American people. What an embarrassment seeing all you liberals fawn over the slug. Disgusting, too.
Who? Trump? Obama? Meyers? Wolf Blitzer?
I was surprised at his stone face given he had just been roasted (and it was funny) but it confirmed one of my long held beliefs. Namely that no one close to him has said "that sounds/looks insane" to him for years. Only such an emperor's new clothes scenario can explain some of his choices. . .
Smart politicians ALWAYS laugh at jokes about them---even if they secretly don't think the joke is fuuny. It proves how secure they are.
What was the funniest moment at the dinner?
The only time I laughed out loud was at the 2nd punchline of this bit, from Seth Meyers: “Mr. President, look at your hair. If your hair gets any whiter the tea party is going to endorse it. Ooooh, I’m going to get an angry voicemail from Ginni Thomas in 19 years.”
Since you touched it, can you explain how it...folds? Curls? How it does that thing it does at the front, I mean? What is going on there? And as for the poster who thinks Obama doesn't love America, um...did they miss the big news last night/this morning?
Dan Zak had the privilege of touching Trump's hair at the Oscars. And I had the opportunity to study its mechanics at the pre-dinner reception. It's not just a comb-over: There's so much more going on. There are these long pieces that begin at the sideburns and are swept back horizontally over the ears. Then, just above them, there are these little white pieces that lay perfectly vertically over the temples -- though up or down, I couldn't tell. It's like basket weave.
Were you at any of the after parties with a certain ex Governor of Alaska ? Any news ( yawn ) on her ?
Gov. Palin and I touched butts. By that I mean we scooched by each other in one of the many parlors of the French ambassador's palatial residence on Kalorama Road NW. I didn't engage her, and I didn't overhear anything, but I will say this: She is a very good-looking woman. Radiant, actually. And she was delightedly yucking it up with the media elite she derides during daylight hours. It was a very peculiar -- and dispiriting -- display.
I talked to her and Todd. Both were charming, but I can't help but feel she was secretly a little bummed there wasn't a single joke about her at the dinner.
I elected to stand with the gawkers outside this year. It was fun to see everyone in real life--including Donald Trump's hair (can't believe you touched it!). I was pretty amazed at the amount of boos for Trump, Bill O'Reilly, and Michelle Rhee.
Many of us not attending the dinner were amusing ourselves on Twitter. DCeiver (aka Jason Links of HuffPost) tried to get someone to muss up the Donald's hair and get a photo. The pledges totalled over $2,000 plus dinner and a donut. Oh, I think guitar lessons, too. Sad no one took us up on it.
Someone got Trump to sign a copy of Obama's birth certificate...
I know she's your publisher's mom and a journalist in her own right, but what was her game face? Was it a straight face? Did she smile? Maybe she was sitting so she didn't have to look at Donald?
She was sitting next to him, directly in front of me. I never saw her laugh out loud; she looked a little nervous but didn't freak out.
Since the three of you have seen a lot of these dinners -- can you advise where Seth Meyers rates as the comedian of the night against past comics ? I know there were a few stinkers in the past.
One hundred times better than Rich Little and Jay Leno. Not as momentous as Stephen Colbert.
But he owned the room in a way Colbert did not. Colbert was apparently much better on TV; in the room, he was too subtle and cerebral for a group that had been drinking for five hours. Seth Meyers had Wanda Sykes' sharpness and fearlessness, but a much higher dose of confidence and topicality. And of course the room was just primed to welcome this, so the energy boiled over like I've never seen it before.
All kinds of new people coming to the chat today. Be nice and welcome them.
You know the most amazing thing about it ? It was tweeted live to the whole world. That is momentous.
The whole thing is momentous, from the standpoint of news dissemination. From the first tweeted confirmation (issued by an aide to Rumsfeld, from what I observed and what's being reported) to the Facebook-fueled pilgrimage to the White House gates -- it was quite a night. Stuever summed it up nicely here.
Say does anyone actually read Vanity Fair ? How come they have such deep pockets to throw parties all the time ?
Oh, I read Vanity Fair. (Where else would I get my monthly dose of JFK news and stories about rich familiy feuds?) They do pretty well for a magazine, I believe. They get a lot of luxury good ads, which pretty much power that entire industry.
You may want to rewatch the video. Like Trump, Weymouth chuckled during Obama's jokes, but grew noticeably more uncomfortable during Meyers' routine, and by the end, looked absolutely mortified. But hey, she's your boss, so if you want to go with game face, I'm okay with it.
You're probably right: I actually spent most of my time watching Trump for his reaction.
I dont understand why Trump is surprised he was made fun of. Is he oblivious to the media hype surrounding him?
I'm speculating: Trump is securely ensconced in his own ego, and surrounded by people who reinforce that security. Saturday night, though, he was mostly surrounded by people laughing at his expense. I doubt that's ever happened to him before (even the Comedy Central roast had certain artificial parameters).
Why was Trump at this dinner?
Becaused The Washington Post invited him, and because he likes publicity. He's got a TV show to promote.
Which was the best looking couple at the WHCD?
Anyone out there got any votes?
I have to admit I would watch this movie. Whoever thought of using Shimmy Shimmy Ya to introduce Biden in that trailer is a genius.
It was eclipsed by Trump jokes, but pretty damn funny, too. Good back and check it out.
So, Jesse Tyler Ferguson's boyfriend is a total HOTTIE. What can you tell us about him?
We can tell you his name is Justin Mikita. They were a very smartly-dressed and -paired couple, and walked hand-in-hand on the streets of D.C. Google Mikita and Perez Hilton will fill in the details.
She's clearly bummed that there were no jokes about her. How else can she whine about the president picking on her, if he didn't pick on her?
If no joke falls in the forest, can her ratings crack 18 percent?
Any pix of Trump 3 and Newt 3 together Saturday?
Not that I'm aware of. I did meet Calista, though, when I cornered Newt for a short convo. She reminded me of Cindy McCain.
I don't see why people are so up in arms about the Post inviting Trump. He's a newsmaker and has been for years. The last time I looked, the Post was in the news business (clearly you're not in the web design business). So I don't see how you could be criticized for the invitation. But, given how your guest was man-handled by the President, your next invitee is probably going to be washing his or her hair next year.
Actually, I think we should invite our web designer next year.
Don't presidents usually make self-deprecating speeches at the WHCD events? While almost everything Obama said was pretty funny, it struck me that he wasn't making gentle fun of himself at all. It made the speech all about somebody else, like Trump as being roasted. Did it struck you as inappropriate or odd?
You're right, it's definitely different. As we noted in a lead-up story the other day, self-deprecation has been a hallmark of a lot of good presidential speeches.
But Obama definitely takes a harder edge, as Paul Farhi noted in his assessment last year of Obama's second WHCD speech: "Barack Obama, the Insult Comic President, was up to his old shtick..."
Who wrote the president's jokes?
We don't know, but the White House's "new media team" arranged the video segments, which went over very well.
Was matzo ball soup on the menu? And did Donald have to wear a hairnet?
I'm sure they will. Or go to the C-SPAN web site, I'm sure they've got it there in full.
Gossipers are saying they behaved somewhat inappropriately, with lots of PDA and a mysterious disappearance - did you see any of this? Plus, why do Hollywooders and other non-journalist/politicos attend anyways? Who invites them? And Trump's sour puss made my weekend!
Those absences were mostly cigarette breaks----he chain smokes, as far as I can tell. I did see a few of the PDAs---nothing too intimate. Part of me wanted to take bets of when they'll break up. I give them another six months.
It was completely DELICIOUS watching the long haired ferret on top of Trump's head sit there and have to take the jokes. I SO WISHED he would get up and walk out, showing the world how gauche he really is. But go back and look at the routines: Obama joking about the non-substantive decisions that the ferret makes on "Celebrity Apprentice" (knowing what was going to hit the air in 24 hours), and Seth Meyers making a Bin Laden reference, and Obama laughing (he's thinking "if only you knew!")
Yep. Then, coming full circle, I was watching cable news last night in the 10 p.m. hour when everyone started freaking out about the president's imminent speech, and I decided to flip over to network to see how they were handling it -- and on NBC, there was "Celebrity Apprentice."
Before the dinner it was reported (in the Post, I'm sure) that The Donald was confident that Obama would not joke with him. Do you think this is a measure of Trump's disconnect?
It wasn't the Post, as far as I read. I would have been shocked if they WEREN'T Trump jokes. I think Mr. Trump has much to learn about the ways of Washington.
I am a comedy writer and former stand up who grew up in Hollywood, and went to Second City. I had my material stolen by the best comedians on TV, no joke. I know the President didn't write any of his material, and he was coached, probably by Jerry Seinfeld and Seth Meyers, because the timing was straight out of the rule book. I'm just wondering, if the President seems to adept at speaking off the cuff like that ... why doesn't he just do his own press conferences? I've always sort of wondered why the White House even hires some other guy to come out and make up excuses and alibis? The President seems perfectly capable of fielding the questions himself. Why the need for a press secretary?
The White House needs to craft its message. It is -- besides an executive enterprise -- a salesman of policy. The president has decisions to make, and can't spend all day crafting graceful/deflective snippets about those decisions.
Amy Argetsinger : All kinds of new people coming to the chat today. Be nice and welcome them. Does this include handsome Dan Zak ?
The hunky Mr. Zak is sitting just feet away.
Did she miss the part about formal attire? In the photo in today's paper, she looks dressed for a business meeting.
A picture is worth 1,111 words, huh? I don't know, but it's possible that Mrs. Cantor was just attending one of the pre-dinner receptions and not staying for dinner. Then again, you see people in a wide array of dress at these things.
Not to cut in on the op-ed pages, but, in your opinion, did the one-two punch of Myers and Obama end the candidacy of Mr. Trump? Also, would Seth Myers have given the President a copy of his remarks prior to the dinner?
Meyers wouldn't have shown the president his remarks. As far as Trump's candidacy, only Mr. Trump can end it.
Not only was Billo booed by the peanut gallery, he was LOUDLY BOOED at the Nationals-Giants game at about 4:30 that afternoon.
Maybe that's why he looked glum all night.
How does this year's WHCD and it's skewering of pols stack up to other WHCDs of the recent past? Too tame? Too edgy? Just right? Side note, who would have guessed that Obama was keeping a secret like the Osama-hit plan? One cool cat.
Edgiest WHCD night ever. Do you think maybe the world will now forgive our corporate overlords here for inviting Donald Trump? I mean, the night would not have been the same without him.
... I took Seth's joke about Trump's running mate coming from the Miss USA pageant to be very funny and sly.
It was sublime and a clever reference. But nothing about Palin by name.
Clearly she was snubbed by Donald Trump, who hogged all the jokes for himself.
I think it was a real coup to have Trump at your table -- you got to observe firsthand while he withered under the barrage of jokes at his expense !
A rare pleasure of the night. I think Roxanne had the best vantage.
I sat just a couple feet away. I have to say I was surprised at his reaction. I would have expected a wave to the president when he was first mentioned, maybe a wink to the cameras. There were very few chuckles---but he did stand and applaud when the president finished his routine, which I thought was appropriate. Anjd he was pleasant enough when I jumped up and asked a couple questions as he was leaving.
Looked great in the picture and on "60 Minutes" last night - did you get a chance to give her a hug or an atta-girl for speaking up?
She did look amazing, both Saturday night and at the New Yorker magazine party on Friday. But, you know, you don't really want to make chipper small-talk with a stranger about the kinds of things she went through -- so, no.
Is she real ? The few pictures I have seen of her seem to fall into the Stepford wife category. Cindy McCain seems quite lively to me. Don't get the comparison unless all you mean is blonde wife of a Republican.
Well, yes, they're both blonde and bit Stepford-y. But even their facial structure and bearing seemed similar. It was a fleeting first impression, though.
Thought Seth did great, on TV he was almost as good as Colbert. Have to ask, did Colbert not "own the room" because a lot of the jokes were on the media and the media took the jokes about as well as Trump did?
I wasn't there for that dinner, but Amy's right: Colbert was very cerebral, and the crowd had likely had at least two cockatils by the time he started. Plus, his satire was very cutting. Without saying it explicitly, Colbert implied that Bush was a buffoon and knocked the media for not questioning the initial execution of the Iraq War. That smarts.
What did you wear? Did you get to actually sit at a table and enjoy the food and the show?
I wore a black suit with a black tie and black vest (the whole ensemble cost less than $200). I sat at our table for about 15 minutes, scarfed down some steak, and then had to peck away at my BlackBerry from the back doors, where there was cell service. Had a nasty 10:30 p.m. deadline. So, no, I enjoyed nothing.
I wore a metallic antique-gold gown, mid-length, kind of slinky -- and with sleeves. (Sleeves are so modern, you know. Not to mention: warm.) I ate the dinner, but there wasn't much sitting -- had to run around the room in search of material, and then spend a lot of time BlackBerrying Dan Zak and Aaron Leitko (who was back at the office posting material to the Web).
And I wore a long gray gown, and ate the surf but not the turf. Ran around shagging quotes before and after the dinner; was on Trump Watch during.
Cut the guy some slack. After all, how many other presidents have had to release their own freaking birth certificates 3 years into their terms simply to reassure a skeptical electorate they're actually American? The guy takes hits every day.
Everyone is so quick to be offended these days. It's stifling. So that's one good thing about the WHCD: Everyone gets roasted. Relieves some of the pressure to be untowardly PC.
Who made the list?
How 'bout the worst couples? I was told Wolf Blitzer was very taken with Mila Kunis (they were at the same table), which makes me queasy.
You chatters haven't focused enough on the substance of the evening here. Sean Penn and Scarlett Johansson went public with their relationship in a big way. He was definitely the big star of the whole weekend -- probably the highest ranking Hollywood person. He even had opportunity to get into it with a drunk guy who tried too hard to take his photo. What can I say: You don't have to even like or enjoy Sean Penn to think he was the hottest guy in the room.
Count me as being absolutely enraged about it beforehand, but giddily accepting during and after!
We'll pass this on to the important people who make those decisions. Amy, Rox and I had no say over who was invited. If we did, our table would've included Sean Penn, Tilda Swinton and Bo Obama, the first family's dog.
Other than just your apparent general dislike of her personally, what makes Sarah Palin think she was upset because there were no jokes about her?
No dislike personally---she was very charming to everyone at the after-party. I just wondered if she was genuinely glad there were no jokes about her. That has to be a relief, but also possibly a sign that her moment is over. But given her reception at the after-parties, probably not.
Dan just said its his fav line - but the only thing that went over my head. Mind explaining?
Ginny Thomas called Anita Hill a few months back asking her to apologize for saying mean things during Clarence's confirmation hearing---19 years ago.
I still get a chuckle whenever I think of your account of a drunken Ana Marie Cox getting blown off by Jimmy Fallon. Did you see anyone else you can name (i.e., not the unknown Sean Penn fan) who had a few too many this year?
Haven't we all wanted to say this to Trump in the past month? (Though I still thought, overall, Obama was much funnier.)
The real question: Is he really REALLY running? Fascinating to consider the possibilities, including half the traditional Republican party plotting a hit and the other half slamming their heads against a brick wall.
Good times. Anyway, kids, we've got a column to write. Many thanks for sharing your Monday with us. Check back in for our regular chat at noon Wednesday, and send your tips and sightings to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for chatting.