Green Room

“Funniest member of Congress may be a conservative Mormon Republican from UT”

posted at 11:11 am on February 7, 2013 by

Last night at the Washington Press Club Foundation dinner—one of the series of springtime galas that culminates with the #Humblebrag event of the year, the White House Press Association Dinner— Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah went there, to the delight of the crowd and Comedy Central, which gave him good marks:

“I’m told that Django Unchained is not a dramatization of Ron Paul’s newsletters.”

Damnnnn. A couple more guffaws from the night:

* Chaffetz, who is Mormon: “My only wife, Julie, is here.”
* Heitkamp on the crowd: “We don’t have this many people in North Dakota.”
* Chaffetz on why President Obama was not in attendance: “Wednesday night skeet shooting.”
* Heitkamp: “You think I have an accent, I think I talk like Tom Brokaw.”
* Chaffetz continued with his Oscar nominees shtick: “If you haven’t seen Life of Pi, it’s not about Chris Christie.”
* Chaffetz on Congress: “I don’t know why everyone hates us so much–it’s not like we’ve done anything.”

On one hand, these dinners can be the purest expression of what everyone hates about this town— a bunch of self-important people eating expensive food in a fancy ballroom while schmoozing with the corporate and union donors who paid for their tables. On the other hand, it can also be a good chance, in a rare non-hostile environment, for a Republican to make a good impression as a non-stodgy figure. Vice President Dick Cheney was the keynote at the Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner in the last year of George W. Bush’s term and proved to have better comic timing than the comedian emcee, Mo Rocca.

It was right after the incident in which a White House photographer had caught a reflection of something in Cheney’s shades while fishing, and speculation ran rampant about the naked woman a bunch of Internet sleuths were seeing. It turned out it was just a reflection of his hand.

But when Cheney approached the dais, he stood silently for a beat or two, then pulled out a fishing hat and put it slowly on his head, did the same with a pair of shades, gave it a beat or two more and said, very deadpan, “You wouldn’t believe how many people want to go fishing with me these days.” The place roared.

So, good on Chaffetz for going to the edge successfully Wednesday night in a couple of these jokes.

And, because we don’t want to leave this post without having a little fun at the expense of the press, you’d think the Washington Press Club Foundation would have fact-checked its program, huh? Layers of fact-checkers. Click for photo.

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If the GOP must enter these MSM/low information voter forums (and sadly with this electorate perhaps they must), they need to be less deferential to the hosts, question their biases and assumptions.

Breitbart style. Polite, but brutally honest.

commodore on February 7, 2013 at 12:09 PM

Semi-self-deprecating jokes aimed at other Republicans are well and good, but shouldn’t our politicians also target our opponents with their humor?

steebo77 on February 7, 2013 at 12:23 PM

It’s too late for him. The PrimordialOrderedPunk already hates his guts with all his heart and soul and moral fiber and is busy thinking up names to call him.

John the Libertarian on February 7, 2013 at 12:34 PM

This could be a good strategy.

Democrats are generally humorless even with the help of John Stewarts and Colburts. But they play the fool and yuk it up for low information voters who want to giggle inanely at the TV.

Low information voters palpably don’t or won’t understand fiscal sanity and personal responsibility. That’s fine – sell them a line the way the Dems sell them a line.

CorporatePiggy on February 7, 2013 at 12:54 PM

As to the program….
Utah, New mexico… they’re both somewhere between CA and NY. At this point, what does it really matter?

GWB on February 7, 2013 at 12:59 PM

John the Libertarian on February 7, 2013 at 12:34 PM

Don’t take this the wrong way, but you’re starting to sound obsessed with a certain commenter.

steebo77 on February 7, 2013 at 2:17 PM

FWIW, Chaffetz converted to Mormonism. He was born into the same faith as Dangerfield, Seinfeld and Uncle Miltie.

BuzzCrutcher on February 8, 2013 at 8:36 AM