Tag Archives: Cecily Strong

Emil Guillermo: My vote for best joke at White House Correspondents Dinner 2015

I like a little danger. And that means the best jokes are the ones where people feel uncomfortable laughing.  You’ve struck a nerve. Comic gold? Forget that, you’ve found truth. That’s better.


Before I get to the line, let me say, the president will always be funnier. Always.

He’s the president. And he’s usually not so loose enough to talk about things like  not having a “bucket list” but having, “something that rhymes with bucket list.”

Big laugh.

“Take executive action on immigration?  Bucket.”

The president will always be funny because the president is always usually serious.

He always wins.

So if you’re a comedian, you might as well say, “Bucket.”

I think Cecily Strong is a good young sketch comic.  She usually hides behind a character. That’s her thing. When you’re yourself, no one has a sense of your persona.  It’s just instant karma. They like you or not.  She’s pretty. At least, that helps if you bomb.

She didn’t. But she was reading her jokes as if doing a roast. And that took away from things, for me, at least.

But I still say she had the best line of the night. It’s the kind of line that touches a truth, but is too real to get a real big guffaw.

Instead it  gets a gurgling, rumbling reaction. Like you’ve poked the giant in the groin.

That’s what a satirist is supposed to do.

And she did that when she said:

“But seriously, the Washington Hilton is great, and I bet that when the president walked in and saw those bell hops, he thought, ‘Finally some decent security!'”

5 seconds of not laughs. But much higher than a groan. This is the Washington elite reacting.

“Nah, I’m just kidding, because let’s give it up for the Secret Service. yeah. (Clapping)”

Just the transition  to the real punch.

“I don’t want to be too hard on those guys. You know, they’re the only law enforcement agency in the country that will get in trouble if a black man gets shot.”

“Are you saying boo, or are you saying true?” Strong added, as she got at least :12 seconds of rumble/grumble/Washington reaction.

That’s a lot of something from a wonky crowd that doesn’t laugh easily.

Bucket. It’s my vote for line of the night. And I even like her more.

I haven’t been to a WHCD since my Washington days in the 80s and 90s.

I remember when the White House Correspondents Dinner was not very Hollywood. In the ’80s, one of the performers I remember was the comic, Sinbad.

Yes, Sinbad.

He was funny. But he mostly did his act.

Now it seems Washington wants to be Justin Bieber at his roast.

The president usually has help (the Anger translation bit was funny). And there’s usually videos now (the Aaron Schock bit was too long). But the infusion of good looks isn’t a bad thing.

To me,  though, it only seems worthwhile  if it all provides the cover for the night’s jester to strike a  nerve, or two.



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