Joel McHale Skewers Washington at White House Correspondents' Dinner - Rolling Stone
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Joel McHale Skewers Washington at White House Correspondents’ Dinner

Obama jokes about, marijuana legalization

Joel McHale delivered plenty of one-liner low blows during his speech at the 100th Annual White Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday night, heading into some pungent territory straight from the outset: “Good evening, Mr. President,” the Community star began, “or as Paul Ryan refers to you, yet another inner city minority, relying on the federal government to feed and house your family.” 

He gave the President a decent ribbing on the Affordable Care Act rollout, of course: “It was so bad. I don’t even have an analogy, because the website is the thing that people use to describe other bad things. Boy that Johnny Depp movie really healthcare.goved at the box office.”

Obamacare: It’s Working!

He also took some serious jabs: “It’s amazing that you can still bring it with fresh, hilarious material. And my favorite bit of yours was when you said you’d close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.”

True to his role as host of the E! network’s The Soup, McHale threw in a bounty of pop culture references, leaning heavily on the Kardashians and throwing in a reference to everybody’s favorite Netflix political drama: “House of Cards has had a huge impact on Washington,” he said. “What a great show. I haven’t seen a Southern senator give a tour de force performance like that since Lindsey Graham played Blanche DuBois in ‘A Streetcar Named Desire.’ And Lindsey, if you’re here now, you can drop character any time, man.”

He even offered a novel spin on the traditional C-Span joke: “C-span is like one of those paranormal activity movies–it’s juts grainy shots of empty rooms, interrupted by images of people you’re pretty sure died a few years ago.” And Ted Nugent is always a ripe target: “Mr. President, you’re no stranger to criticism. Ted Nugent called you a subhuman mongrel. And it’s comments like that that really make me question whether we can take the guy who wrote ‘Wang Dang Sweet Poontang’ seriously anymore.”

Obama, who preceded McHale at the event, had his own sharp material. Noting that he was actually starting to feel sorry for the House Speaker, he said, “These days, House Republicans actually give John Boehner a harder time than they give me, which means orange really is the new black.”

During his defense of Obamacare, he played off the website’s notorious difficulties with a poster for the Disney movie Frozen, but turned the joke around on the health care act’s critics: “How well does Obamacare have to work before you don’t want to repeal it? What if everybody’s cholesterol drops to 120? What if your yearly checkup came with tickets to a Clippers game? Not the old, Donald Sterling Clippers – the new Oprah Clippers. Would that be good enough? What if they gave Mitch McConnell a pulse? What is it going to take?”

He also wove together two rich contemporary political themes: “Colorado legalized marijuana this year, an interesting social experiment. I do hope it doesn’t lead to a whole lot of paranoid people who think that the federal government is out to get them and listening to their phone calls.”

In This Article: Barack Obama, Joel McHale


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