Radio and Television Correspondents’ Association Dinner

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Last night was the second-biggest cocktail weenie roast of the year: The Radio and Television Correspondents’ Association Dinner, also known as “Junior Prom.” It’s a lot like the White House correspondents’ dinner, but with fewer fake famous people and worse entertainment. But the wine is free and if you, like me, get a kick out seeing moderately well-known wonks attempt to have “fun” (imagine four hours of trying to teach your dad to dance or somesuch), it can be diverting.

Highlight of the evening was dishing about Gonzales with a couple of folks who I probably should just call “GOP congressional leaders,” one of whom predicted Gonzales would be out by next week and confided that he had heard the only delay was in finding someone to take the job. I suggested Joe Lieberman. The other lawmaker indicated that there was some momentum on the Congressional side for a compromise regarding the subpoenas, should the White House want it. A major sticking point: transcripts of the testimony. “There have to be transcripts.”

As is the custom at these things, Bush gave a “comic” speech. These are usually carefully crafted monologues designed to poke enough fun at one’s own administration that you seem self-aware, but not so much mockery that you actually make any criticisms. (Unless they’re accidental — like Bush’s disastrous “Who Moved MY WMDs?” slide show in 2004). Bush’s speech last night was fairly typical in that balance, but his particularly sour demeanor gave his grim punchlines the flat aspect of truth:

“A year ago my approval rating was in the 30s, my nominee for the Supreme Court had just withdrawn, and my vice president had shot someone,” Bush said…

“Ah,” he said, “those were the good ol’ days.”

Perhaps in reaction to the buzz given to the White House dinner last year thanks to Stephen Colbert, the RTCA dinner planners made an extra effort to make the event seem less interchangeable with the 62 that proceeded it. To that end, there was a short music video from Jib-Jab (the “Capitol Steps of the Internet”) and the after dinner entertainment was “interactive,” i.e., improvisational comedy from the stars of “Who’s Line Is It Anyway?”

Nothing will clear husband and I me* from a room faster than the words “improv comedy,” except maybe “free vodka across the street.” (Here I must insert thanks to CNN for letting us crash their party at the Russia House.) Thus we left before what I gather was a pretty funny rap performance from “MC Rove.” I haven’t seen the video but based on the rest of the evening I feel confident in advising Karl this: Go ahead and quit your day job.



Funny, sure, but in the way someone getting smacked in the groin is funny. By which I mean, of course, hilarious.

*Sorry that took so long.