Has Obama Considered Stand-Up? Looking At Our President's Best Jokes
Last weekend, the White House Correspondents’ Dinner gave President Barack Obama the last laugh. “Obama out,” he declared, kissing two fingers and dropping the mic. It was a big finish for a president who has consistently drawn more laughs at the event than the comedians that follow him. Controversial, too. Obama is the president who can’t even give Michelle dap without being accused of “terrorist fist jabbing.” Is Obama’s kissing the two-finger salute a secret sign to his Muslim cabal? Well, wouldn’t you like to know.
Come 2017, Obama will be unemployed. Luckily, his two terms have prepared the POTUS for a blossoming career in stand-up comedy. “Part of the way you survive the stress of the White House is being able to laugh with your team about some of the crazy stuff that happens,” he said in an interview with Steve Harvey. If Obama can handle Congress’ nonstop checkmate, he can take on the hecklers in the comedy circuit. Comedy is a scrappy business, but, with Obama’s deadpan delivery, we think the POTUS could successfully take his tour on the road.
The first step in comedy is accepting, and bouncing back from, failure. While giving a speech to the Democratic National Committee, Obama fielded a random, incoherent question about his “nuclear plan in Russia.” Obama wordlessly responded with the face that you give when someone hijacks your Spotify playlist to play Maroon 5.
There’s a direct correlation to the amount of Obama’s gray hairs and his braggadocio. During the 2015 State of the Union address, silver fox Obama went off script with his remarks. When his comment, “I have no more campaigns to run,” was met with applause from a gaggle of Congressional representatives, he added, “I know, because I won both of them.” Don’t come at the don.
Obama doesn’t just feed off of heckling nobodies in the crowd either. Before he became a viable candidate, Donald Trump was mostly a celebutante punching bag with a peanut butter hairdo. At the 2011 Press Correspondents’ Dinner, Obama annihilated Trump’s presidential run before it had really begun. Trump, who had been vocal in his insistence that Obama was hiding his Kenyan nativity, was cut down to size when Obama released his US birth certificate in full, along with an accompanying video–the intro to Disney’s Lion King. But he wasn’t done.
Addressing The Donald directly, Obama highlighted his “credentials and breadth of experience” by outlining an episode of Celebrity Apprentice. “Ultimately you didn’t blame Lil Jon or Meatloaf–you fired Gary Busey. And these were the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night.” Ah, it was a simpler time–back when Trump’s policies were generally followed by canned laughter.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Obama is able to be funny without giving off the uneasy sense that he is pandering, a trait that the current batch of presidential nominees have woefully lacked. Obama is able to juggle the roles of entertainer and President of the Free World with pure charm. Just consider the layers of complexity when Obama played himself playing Daniel Day-Lewis playing himself. Many actors and comedians might have lost themselves in the depth of that role.
Sure, his appearances on Between Two Ferns, WTF with Marc Maron, and Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee have all featured presidential plugs for Obamacare. But they’re put in there as an aside, not as a “gotcha!” Obama’s last Press Correspondents’ Dinner was the cherry on top, but, if we’re being honest, Obama’s been dropping mics for years now.
Images via NBC, Giphy.
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