W.H. Correspondents Dinner: Bush Kills, Colbert Bombs

posted at 2:52 am on April 30, 2006 by Allahpundit

Turns out comedy is best left to the amateurs.

Tough night for Colby, who must have regarded this gig as a chance to play the Super Bowl on his home field. Watch the clip and see for yourself whom the crowd ended up rooting for. Crooks & Liars called the performance “dynamite,” which is close to the truth only insofar as it’s a munitions metaphor. Read Captain Ed for details.

In Colbert’s defense, he might not have been playing for laughs. The dissident posture is very important to our friends on the left; if SC had kept things light and wasted his opportunity to speak “truth” to power, they’d have crucified him for it. As it is, the moonbats will be building statues of him tomorrow. To paraphrase another delusional comedian who wasn’t as funny as he thought he was, better to be Kos for a night than a schmuck for a lifetime.

Although, those two aren’t exactly mutually exclusive, are they?

AP report is here. E&P predictably swooning over Colbert is here. The website of the new most-famous-man-in-America is here. The homepage of one of the best networks on cable TV, which carried the event live, is here. I’ll update with a link to the video of their broadcast as soon as they post it.

Update: Daniel at Bloggledygook tears down a statue.

Update: Nathan Goulding at Media Blog on missed opportunities.

Update: Ace is usually worth quoting, and today is no exception:

The media is swooning over Colbert’s performance — despite the fact that he all but accused them in complicity in pushing the Iraq War. (And– TAX CUTS!!)

Why? Why are they so happy to be insulted?

Because the media loves being criticized from the left.

They want the license to move further to the left than they already are, and, to have a pretext to do so, they require critics who accuse them of being too conservative.

When they get accused of being too conservative or too easy on Bush, they get to claim, absurdly, “Well, we get it from both the left and the right, so that proves that we’re straight-down-the-middle fair and balanced.”

Translating this from liberal-media-speak: “Keep the criticism coming, fellow liberals, because we need to be able to ‘prove’ we’re not liberally biased. And, because we care more about what YOU say — you agree with us and we agree with you, even if we have to play this Kabuki theater where we pretend we’re in disagreement — we’ll be more responsive to your liberal/left complaints than we’ve ever been regarding complaints from the right.”

It’s the left’s claims of the press being “too easy” on Bush that have inspired them to reveal extremely-damaging national security secrets in order to regain the praise from the only people whose opinions they care about– other liberals and leftists.

Bold-faced emphasis mine. Why the emphasis? Because Mark Smith, the president of the Correspondents Association, made exactly that point when introducing Bush. I didn’t include it in our video because the clip was already too long as is.

Ace must be psychic, huh?

Update: Jim Treacher e-mails to defend Colby.

I didn’t like how Bush stifled Colbert’s dissent by frowning.

And give Colbert a break: He’s not used to performing in front of an audience that’s old enough to buy all their own clothes.

Breaking on Hot Air



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I’m conservative, but a big Colbert Report fan. His brand of comedy works great on his show. However, he went over the top at the dinner. As you said, he just couldn’t let this opportunity to embarrass the President pass him by.

Brian Hobbs on April 30, 2006 at 4:05 AM

I, too, like the Colbert report. It does hearten me, however, that the president garnered the most laughs. It is refreshing, at least to me, that the president can laugh at himself. He does not regard himself in a condesending manner which is typical of anybody [regardless of office] who becomes intoxicated with power. He is a truly humble man.

chow on April 30, 2006 at 4:58 AM

The Daily Show is usually only slightly left-leaning, and The Colbert Report leans even less, at least from my Libertarian perspective. Above all, they’re comedy shows. Republicans are in power now, so that’s where a lot the good humor lies. But making fun of Republicans doesn’t even necessarily indicate a left-leaning bias, considering how much many Republicans are acting like the big government party they feign to oppose. And if you’ve never made fun of Bush’s verbal blunders, you need to pack it up and move to a country where the level of humor matches yours better. France? Maybe Nepal.

There’s plenty to make fun of on both sides… Stephen Colbert apparently just forgot about what it was at that White House dinner. His show is actually pretty funny, and he sometimes gets some good jabs in on his left-wing guests. In any case, after being subjected to the vile illogic, left-wing dominance and anti-individualism that is Real Time with Bill Maher, either The Daily Show or The Colbert Report should come as a breath of fresh air.

Mark Jaquith on April 30, 2006 at 5:54 AM

Self deprecating humor always works well. Ronald Reagan was a master at this and the humor won him much respect.

gary on April 30, 2006 at 6:31 AM

That may be the funniest Presidential appearance ever. Colbert’s problwm wasn’t so much his material. He just wasn’t funny, though he usually is.

Pablo on April 30, 2006 at 6:34 AM

President Bush was a riot! I laughed out loud at all the funny lines. He proved once again what a decent human being he really is.

Colbert on the other hand, proved what a cheap-shot artist he is, his jokes stunk, he’s not original, or clever, but on the bright side, they were clearly overshadowed by his lack of class.

Richard Davis on April 30, 2006 at 8:02 AM

Dude, Colbert bombed… I am just stunned at what a sad performance that was. I don’t regularly watch his show, but I have from time to time, and despite being a liberal, he can be pretty funny. But at this event, not only did he have almost no funny jokes, he went way over the top with some meanspirited BS. He really brought the room down man…. Can you believe the silence in the room? This was just really weird.

RightWinged on April 30, 2006 at 8:30 AM

He bombed. And I love it.

Shaun on April 30, 2006 at 9:42 AM

I agree that Colbert bombed. Unimpressive and not even funny. Embarassing. Yes, the silence was deafening.

doingwhatican on April 30, 2006 at 10:16 AM

I guess my question is why would Joe Wilson and Valeri Plame show up at event for President Bush?? I don’t remember either of them being correspondents, let alone fans of the Bush administration. From here in flyover country it confuses me why anyone who has such a public distain for this president would bother to attend an even with him?

journeyscarab on April 30, 2006 at 10:31 AM

Ooh, ow. What a downer. I wish whoever cut the video put Colbert first and the President last just so I wouldn’t have to walk away from the video with that “I recently rolled my eyeballs really hard” feeling. President Bush was indeed great, “nucular,” hehehe. Colbert… I read a bunch of the comments that said he bombed, and yeah, wow, they were right. I was thinking, okay, this site is mostly conservative like me, they probably don’t like the jokes that are at our expense. I was so flat out wrong, Colbert just plain old sucked.

And hey, I’m really glad that Hot Air has comments, while I’m thinking about it. With all the death threats and racist B.S. that Michelle gets, I can understand why she turned the feature off on her personal site. But apparently, that sort of thing has been cut off at the head by the limited registration time here, and that’s great. Because the comments really do lend to a feeling of community, and I like commenting here because I feel safe that nobody is going to eat their own or say something completely outrageous that makes conservatives look bad. There are a lot of good people here.

So, I know you guys have been hearing this all week, but one more time: Thanks for setting up a great website.

Savage on April 30, 2006 at 10:49 AM

Savage, you nailed it. I am thankful for this site and the like-minded commentators here. That’s why “Hot Air” works for me, too.

doingwhatican on April 30, 2006 at 11:12 AM

I don’t think Colbert embarrassed the President as Brian Hobbs said as much as he embarrassed himself. He tried to make A fool of the President, and only succeded in making A fool of himself. I like Brian Hobbs am also A fan of the Colbert show, not such A big fan any more. This was supposed to be A lighted hearted event, not A soap box for Colbert to shove A knive into his political enemy. In my estimation Colbert laid one enormous egg…

birdman on April 30, 2006 at 11:48 AM

Savage YOU ARE RIGHT there our A lot of good people here. I can’t tear myself away from this damm keyboard, and i’m not getting any work down because this is great, fantastic, awsome. We will show the libs. how its done; and BLOW THEIR HEADS OFF.

birdman on April 30, 2006 at 11:55 AM

“We will show the libs how its done”. From your lips, birdman, to the voters ears come the 2006 and 2008 elections.

Let’s energize our base.

doingwhatican on April 30, 2006 at 12:08 PM

doingwhatican WOW! Thank you very much, all the people here are the greatest, again thank you……………

birdman on April 30, 2006 at 12:28 PM

Oh man, I wish everyone could watch this clip of President Bush (both of them). His poll numbers would double overnight.

chetthepet on April 30, 2006 at 12:49 PM

We must never, never let this pack of vermin that is the Democratic Party take over this Country again. The party is led A DEN OF SNAKES, Marxists, Lenenists, Maoists, Trokeyists, Anarkists, Hatemongers, Drug-dealers, Childmolesters, and assorted Nerds, Geeks, Feebs, dweebs, and Doufifses(did I spell Doufifses right). They can not be allowed, and must not be allowed to turn this wonderful place that we call home into their freakin UTOPHIA, a UTOPIA, led by these insects, A cesspool of A third world country.

birdman on April 30, 2006 at 1:01 PM


Don’t you know pedophilia is just another “lifestyle” choice? You’re being insensitive…

/sarcasm off

jaleach on April 30, 2006 at 1:09 PM

Would the plural of doofus be doofi?

From the clip alone, G stole the show. I can’t imagine Slick Willey poking fun at himself in this manner.
Poking an intern, that’s another matter.


George Ford on April 30, 2006 at 1:33 PM

The ideology of the left is dangerous and destructive. Should they regain control of the Congress and the White House our country will be rendered unrecognizable.

The Islamofascists are gleefully watching the divisiveness here caused predominantly by the pandering lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

The socialist left is immigrating terror.

Birdman is right that we cannot, must not allow the leftwing nutjobs to prevail.

doingwhatican on April 30, 2006 at 1:34 PM

Bush is normally protected from such negative opinions.

Why didn’t the secret service escort Colbert away from the microphone?

_Monk_ on April 30, 2006 at 1:37 PM

doingwhatican I tip my cap to you, gotta go now coffees done be right back, bye.

birdman on April 30, 2006 at 1:46 PM


Don’t be silly, the President is hardly protected from this type of nonsense.

Every time he talks to the press he has to listen to the same tired old garbage.

Martin on April 30, 2006 at 1:54 PM

George Ford and jaleach doofi I love it laughed out loud great stuff. I sadly admit that I am A very insensitive person part of, ” A great right wing conspericy”, but I promice to better in the future. No wemen over 12 yrs. old ever again I promice, honest, no more smoking cigeretts, or cigars, I promice, I will only smoke crack, honest, I promice. Its no fun smoking cigeretts in N.J. anymore, and when I go out on A date with boys they must not be over the age of “12”, like Charlie Sheen personally told me, I promice, honest.

birdman on April 30, 2006 at 2:04 PM

I did enjoy one of Colbert’s jokes. The one about the glass half empty…wait, I mean the glass one third full…wait, I mean the class two thirds, uh…something or other.

He delivered it with such pistachio…wait, I mean spinach — no, I meant panache…sorry about that — I guess I’m just not ready for the spotlight.

withoutfeathers on April 30, 2006 at 4:23 PM

Tacky & meanspirited for Colbert to extend his putative list of “staged photo-ops” to Bush’s historic visit to the WTC site after 9/11. What was he thinking?

Not only is it unseemly suggest this even if the President HAD behaved as Colbert implies; it’s not the way Bush actually behaved, as those present on the scene (firefighters, NYPD personnel, mayor, …) will attest.

A different venue, and a different delivery of the joke, might have poked fun at the way *every* act by George Bush is [purportedly] twisted by the national media into a cynical ploy of some kind.

Not Colbert, and not this venue. He delivered his joke “straight”. It sounded to me like he meant what he was saying. Shame on him.

RD on April 30, 2006 at 4:46 PM

Er, wouldn’t it be better to say “Bush wows ’em, Colbert flops!”

Kokonut on April 30, 2006 at 5:08 PM

Colbert was soooooo tiresome. “32 %, 32 %, polls, 32%”. Rehasher….

tiercel76 on April 30, 2006 at 5:12 PM

Anyone know what’s up with my trackbacks not being accepted? I haven’t had a problem before, and I was actually the trying to ping this post before anyone else, after I posted video of the entire Bush segment. If anyone that is part of HotAir reads this, can you contact me and let me know why my trackbacks aren’t working on this post.


RightWinged on April 30, 2006 at 5:35 PM

Are you sure you’re using the Trackback URL, RW? It’s not the same as the post URL.

Allahpundit on April 30, 2006 at 5:41 PM

Colbert has to be the biggest bust since the infamous Imus appearance at the WH Correspondent Dinner.

I agree with the assessment that if Colbert didn’t go after the President and the right, the left would have turned on him in an instant…..make that a nano-instant (somewhere between a shake and a nanosecond). Which coincidently, is the attention span of the MSM when it comes to reality vs the reality they want it to be.

Athos on April 30, 2006 at 5:56 PM

There was no need to show Helen Thomas at the start of the clip. I was having a nice day.

eagles5 on April 30, 2006 at 5:59 PM

Hey Allahpundit,

Yeah, I’m definitely using the trackback URL. Don’t know what’s up because they’ve always gone right through.

Are they maybe mistakenly being filtered out by spam filters? Like my movable type will put stuff in a “junk” folder, etc.


RightWinged on April 30, 2006 at 5:59 PM

C-Span showed one of Clinton’s appearances at the correspondents dinner, and his jokes were the faux self-deprecating kind, criticizing himself for things like working too hard and getting along with everybody too much. I voted for him back in 2000, but now I wonder why I didn’t see what a horse’s patoot he was.
As for this event, when the President of the United States accepts your invitation and comes to your party, I don’t care who you are, the least you can be is polite. I thought this showed such a classless, tacky meanness that the President should decline to attend next year. If the media can’t even be civil at an event like this, they need to be treated like the trash they resemble.

NellE on April 30, 2006 at 6:11 PM

IMHO, exactly two things were demonstrated by this event:

1) The President is capable of being quite humorous, even at his own expense;

2) The President is a bigger man than any of the pip-squeaks who make their living bashing him.

withoutfeathers on April 30, 2006 at 6:29 PM

OTOH the joke about not being able to say Valerie Plame’s name in public was funny (and not inappropriate either)…

RD on April 30, 2006 at 6:31 PM

Ah, your link must’ve killed Aceypoo’s bandwith. Meh.

Feisty on April 30, 2006 at 6:50 PM

That’s true RD, as was the opening joke about the 14 bulletproof SUVs…. but the rest of the time Colbert just stunk the place up

RightWinged on April 30, 2006 at 6:56 PM

“There was no need to show Helen Thomas at the start of the clip. I was having a nice day.” – eagles5

LMAO! I hate to have to smash a person based on their appearance, but yeah, I cringed, too.

Savage on April 30, 2006 at 7:10 PM

Wow….Colbert couldn’t have done better if he’d put a gun in his mouth ‘n pulled the trigger.

Reeeeeeeaally unfunny.

The Ugly American on April 30, 2006 at 7:33 PM

Kinda wish Wilson and Plame were handcuffed and led away. It would be a good thing.

LifeofTheMind on April 30, 2006 at 7:52 PM

Colbert very, very unfunny, hardly raised a sustained laugh at all, and his whole shtick was painful to listen to. Bush was terrific, self-depracating and at ease with the impersonator’s timing and great gestures.

hatchersan on April 30, 2006 at 8:43 PM

The routine with President Bush and Steve Bridges was very funny. It doesn’t matter to me if Steve Colbert made fun of the President or not. That’s what the night’s about. What bothered me was that he simply wasn’t funny.

Charger68 on April 30, 2006 at 9:15 PM

The President was hilarious (and an I am an expert on comedy). I can’t believe he did the John McCain line.

As for Colbert, not so funny from what I saw, but the insidious Hot Air could have just edited out all his best lines for all I know.

frankj on April 30, 2006 at 10:02 PM

Well, this isn’t the first time i’ve had GWB make me laugh out loud, and it’s not the first time a left-leaning comic caused me to roll my eyes in amazement at his/her lame attempts at ‘humor’. My guess is that we’ll get more of both for a long time to come.

But the president was very funny, and a good sport being made sport of. I like that in a fella.

Bob's Kid on May 1, 2006 at 12:02 AM

It scares me to see the lack of respect of the office of President of the United States is given. Even Clinton who trashed the honor of the office got more respect in his postion because of the office by those who despised him personally. Even in the last 4 years I’m afraid that the overall respect for the offices of our republic is on a slippery downhill slide. I shudder to think of the implications of this, whether held by democrat or republican.

CountryDoc on May 1, 2006 at 12:53 AM

I agree CountryDoc recently – and particulary since Clinton had his cigar sessions – there has been no respect for the office of the President of the United States.

I think the president (both of them) were good. I may not agree with Bush on everything – but at least he’s *human* like the rest of us. Colbert was a flop – hist jokes were stale and dumb.

My bet is that Helen Thomas was there to scare away all the evil spirits… kind of a backup to George Clooney (who I heard was there too).

CrazyFool on May 1, 2006 at 1:16 AM

The problem with Colby’s speech wasn’t the material, it was that he was visibly angry and combative. That never looks good on anyone, especially someone who’s paid to be funny.

violet on May 1, 2006 at 3:09 AM

The family really enjoyed the antics of the twin presidents but, that said..I was wondering if, during this time of war, would it have been more prudent to decline attending these so called festivities. I was almost anticipating some Bush bashers whining about all the glamour during this conflict.
Just my thoughts on this….However, I am enjoying reading all the above comments. DITTOS TO ALL.

Sandys Beach on May 1, 2006 at 9:40 AM

Wow, Colbert sucked more than I thought possible…and I usually enjoy the Colbert Report…

Terlizzi999 on May 1, 2006 at 4:07 PM

Beyond the fact that he wasn’t very funny, he was just so darned predictable. All those libs in Hollywood like to act as if they’re so brave, “speaking out” against the President, when the truth is they’re just following the herd. They don’t dare deviate from the expected, they might not get an invitation to Susan Sarandan’s party. A really brave thing would have been to treat the President with a little respect.

right as rain man on May 1, 2006 at 8:48 PM

Those of you that are slamming Colbert for not being funny don’t get it – it’s called irony. He didn’t bomb – he did exactly what he set out to do which was to point out what 68% of the country feels about Bush’s failed policies that the MSM refuses to cover accurately. I don’t feel bad for Bush – he has a way of letting this stuff roll right off and continues to do exactly what he wants to do. The person I feel bad for is the guy from AP that invited Colbert. He looked devastated – he has probably lost his job – most that cross the administration usually do. Just check the facts.

journeyscarab – Why did Wilson and Plame show up for a Bush event – answer: it wasn’t a Bush event!

Zeus on May 2, 2006 at 1:16 AM

Wow, Colbert wasn’t just flat he was embarrasingly bad. He messed up a joke, his timing was terrible. He seemed to be reading notes the whole time. And the material was so predicatable.

Maybe this was all part of Karl Rove’s secret plan. Find a leftist comedian who will bomb badly, thereby making the President look like a master communicator by comparison. That Rove is a genius.

John on May 2, 2006 at 2:48 AM

No, Zeus, I think we are able to understand what he was doing. He was playing to a particular audience, fellow libs and entertainers who expected him to give it to Bush. So, it didn’t really matter if he was funny; they expected Bush bashing and he supplied it. Still, very predictable, and yes, not even funny.

right as rain man on May 2, 2006 at 8:33 AM

I really didn’t see Colbert as especially mean, ala dice clay, martin lawrence, or that idiotic george carlin. He was just lame. Dubya was far more entertaining.

ecamorg on May 3, 2006 at 11:47 AM


EFG on July 27, 2006 at 5:59 PM