President Obama owned the room at the 2009 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner before some 3,000 elites in the Washington Hilton Ballroom. While the President’s charisma and innate comic timing carried him through the night, he did have a little help from his scribes.
Speechwriters Jon Favreau and Jon Lovett led the charge with timely references, including a video where the President welcomes a “Pirate” to the Oval Office (a tip of the feather-topped hat to Bloomberg Media guest Richard Phillips, Captain of the Maersk ship who was captured by Somali pirates in April 2009 and valiantly rescued by US Navy SEALS).
Senior Advisor David Axelrod was one of the top presidential aides who helped come up with the visual joke.
Tom Vietor, Jeff Nussbaum, Jeff Shesol, and a few other outside joke writers helped polish the President’s speech. This year, it will also be a team effort to make sure WHCA Dinner host Jay Leno will not be the only one getting laughs.
No pirates this year, but there’s bound to be a health care joke or two tickling the crowd’s funny bone.
Politico has more on what it takes to make a president funny – on purpose.