Comedians At The White House

White HouseLast week, Conan O’Brien performed at the 2013 White House Correspondents’ Dinner, lightheartedly teasing President Obama.  You can check out the complete video here.  It was the second time O’Brien has hosted the dinner, following a previous appearance in 1995 during Bill Clinton’s presidency.  We thought it would be a good time to take a look at some of the best White House performances by comedians. Take a look and let us know what you think!

(1) Stephen Colbert – 2006 – George W. Bush

ColbertIn 2006, the Colbert Report host delivered perhaps the most memorable performance in the history of the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner.  He performed in character, satirizing a right-wing television pundit and roasting George W. Bush to his face.  Some of President Bush’s aides and supporters allegedly walked out during Colbert’s speech, with one former aide saying the President was not amused by the performance.  Colbert joked about the President’s stance on Iraq, his approval rating, and his general stubbornness.  He famously said at the dinner, “When the president decides something on Monday, he still believes it on Wednesday –no matter what happened Tuesday.”



(2) Norm MacDonald – 1997 – Bill Clinton

NormBeloved Weekend Update host Norm MacDonald left his Saturday Night Live desk in New York for a memorable performance for President Bill Clinton in 1997.  He teased Clinton, Matt Lauer, Larry King, Dick Morris, Alan Greenspan, and most other people who had the misfortune of being in the room with Norm.  Like most of Norm’s television appearances – whether it’s the Bob Saget Roast or a spot on Letterman or Conan – it’s a performance worth watching.



(3) Craig Ferguson – 2008 – George W. Bush

furgLate night television host Craig Ferguson performed at President George W. Bush’s final White House Correspondents’ Dinner.  He cracked up both the President and the First Lady with his self-deprecating jokes about his level of success, his status as an immigrant to America, and his good-natured take on American politics.  Ferguson was the first foreign-born comedian to be the featured performer at the dinner in two decades, not since Yakov Smirnoff performed in the ‘80s.  Check out the video of the Late Late Show host’s hilarious set.


(4) Wanda Sykes – 2009 – Barack Obama

wandaWanda Sykes earned the honor of performing at President Barack Obama’s first White House Correspondents’ Dinner, following his inauguration in 2009.  Sykes became the first black woman and the first openly gay comedian to ever perform comedy at the prestigious affair.  She killed from the start of her set, teasing the media’s obsession with Obama and the President’s multiple photo ops that featured him shirtless.  “I know you’re into this transparency thing, but I don’t need to see your nipples,” Sykes joked.  “There was never a nipple portrait of Lincoln.”  She pulled no punches in her routine, mocking Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity, and Rush Limbaugh, much to the amusement of some and the anger of others.  FOX News was outraged, publishing the headline, “Did Wanda Sykes Go Too Far?” following her performance.  Check out Wanda’s complete, controversy-filled performance here:


What were some of your favorite White House performances?  Tweet us @standupny We’d love to hear from you!

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