Comedian Joel McHale had some laugh lines and jokes that fell flat at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner Saturday night, but one thing was clear above all: He wasn’t holding back.
From multiple jokes about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) weight to calling MSNBC host Chris Hayes a lesbian to comparing CNN to “a RadioShack at a sad strip mall,” McHale was clearly not afraid to make the gathered Washington elite cringe.
“Governor, do you want bridge jokes or size jokes because I got a bunch of both. I can go half and half. I know you’d like a combo platter,” said McHale, the host of E!’s “The Soup” and star of NBC’s “Community.”
As the well-dressed power players and celebrities in the Washington Hilton ballroom reacted, McHale piled on with a parody of Christie’s marathon press conferences and self-appointed investigation surrounding the bridge controversy. I’m appointing a blue ribbon commission of me to investigate the joke I just told and if I find any wrongdoing on my part, I assure you it will be dealt with,” McHale said with feigned sincerity. “I just looked into it, it turns out I’m not responsible for it. Justice has been served.”
The crowd laughed and cheered before McHale added, “He’s going to kill me.”
President Obama, sitting a few seats down the dais, was not the target of many of the jokes. McHale started off with a shot at Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) who came under fire for remarks about men in “inner cities” not working.
“Good evening Mr. President, or as Paul Ryan refers to you, yet another inner city minority relying on the federal government to feed and house your family,” McHale said.
Vice President Joe Biden now has a long history of being joked about, including his own character in “The Onion.”
McHale continued in the tradition. “The vice president isn’t here tonight, not for security reasons,” McHale said. “He just thought tonight’s event was being held at the Dulles Airport Applebee’s. Yes, right now Joe is elbow deep in jalapeño poppers and talking to a construction cone he thinks is John Boehner.”
CNN’s extensive coverage of the missing Malaysian airliner was a favorite topic of Obama’s speech and McHale’s. McHale was not worried about being sensitive.
“At this point CNN is like that RadioShack at a sad strip mall,” he said. “You don’t know how it stayed in business this long, you don’t now anyone that shops there, and they just fired [host] Piers Morgan.”
Perhaps in a window into his willingness to skewer his targets, McHale said previously that his limit was what was not funny.
“Things that aren’t funny are off limits,” McHale told The Hill in an interview last week. “My goal is to write funny jokes and to make funny jokes.”