State of the Union speeches are sort of like party platforms: Once they’re delivered, nobody much remembers what’s in them.

What we do remember is the controversy — Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonTrump’s first year in office was the year of the woman Can a president be impeached for non-criminal conduct? Dems search for winning playbook MORE giving his 1998 speech in the wake of the Monica Lewinsky scandal and all eyes on Hillary; more recently, last year, President Obama harshly criticizing a Supreme Court ruling and Justice Samuel Alito mouthing the words, “that’s not true.” Alito later said he felt like “a potted plant” and didn’t see the point of attending, and this year he stayed away, as did Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

As always, the crowd pleasers came when POTUS focused on plain people in the audience; on their tragedies and successes — seated with the first lady, the parents and brother of the 9-year-old girl murdered by a madman who was trying to assassinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.); the small-businessman who brainstormed a way to drill the Chilean miners to safety.

President Obama’s speech last night was flat, devoid of memorable lines. Still, it’s always fun for me — kind of like playing license plate games as a kid on a family road trip — to identify the members of Congress and Cabinet and staff that I spend so many hours every day studying. This year was more challenging than most because in an effort to tone down political rancor came odd couplings of Republicans and Democrats — Illinois Senator Mark KirkMark KirkHigh stakes as Trump heads to Hill Five things to watch for at Trump-Senate GOP meeting Giffords, Scalise highlight party differences on guns MORE (R) with his date Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinMcCarthy: ‘No deadline on DACA’ Ex-Sheriff David Clarke: Trump only one who 'cares about black American citizens' DHS chief takes heat over Trump furor MORE (D); Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) with Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.), Sen. Jay RockefellerJohn (Jay) Davison RockefellerOvernight Tech: Trump nominates Dem to FCC | Facebook pulls suspected baseball gunman's pages | Uber board member resigns after sexist comment Trump nominates former FCC Dem for another term Obama to preserve torture report in presidential papers MORE (D-W.Va.) with Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Sen. John KerryJohn Forbes KerryFeehery: Oprah Dem presidential bid unlikely Dem hopefuls flock to Iowa Change in Iran will only come from its people — not the United States MORE (D-Mass.) with Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMcCain rips Trump for attacks on press NSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Meghan McCain says her father regrets opposition to MLK Day MORE (R-Ariz.), Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats will need to explain if they shut government down over illegal immigration White House: Trump remarks didn't derail shutdown talks Schumer defends Durbin after GOP senator questions account of Trump meeting MORE (D-N.Y.) with Sen. Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnRepublicans in Congress shouldn't try to bring back earmarks Republicans should know reviving earmarks is a political nightmare Former GOP senator: Trump has a personality disorder MORE (R-Okla.). I would have aced a test on Cabinet members and Supreme Court justices, done pretty well on the president’s staff — there was the impeccably groomed new chief of staff, Bill Daley — and failed on the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The podium itself was interesting. I had noticed at the state dinner for the president of China that President Obama is looking skeletal, diminished when he stands next to Michelle. He looked painfully thin last night. Rumor last week had it he was coloring his hair. Nope, it’s getting noticeably grayer.

The new Speaker of the House, John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDems face hard choice for State of the Union response Even some conservatives seem open to return to earmarks Overnight Finance: Trump, lawmakers take key step to immigration deal | Trump urges Congress to bring back earmarks | Tax law poised to create windfall for states | Trump to attend Davos | Dimon walks back bitcoin criticism MORE (R-Ohio), who introduced the president and sat behind and above him looked like he had heartburn or was dying for a cigarette. Obama probably could have skipped his nicotine chewing gum and gotten his fix from BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDems face hard choice for State of the Union response Even some conservatives seem open to return to earmarks Overnight Finance: Trump, lawmakers take key step to immigration deal | Trump urges Congress to bring back earmarks | Tax law poised to create windfall for states | Trump to attend Davos | Dimon walks back bitcoin criticism MORE’s fumes.

Vice President Biden, sitting beside Boehner, looked his usual happy self, but in the absence of his former partner, Nancy Pelosi, there was no color coordination. I always suspected that Biden’s tie and Pelosi’s suit required some pre-show planning. Biden and Pelosi were also hugely enthusiastic and synchronized applauders of the president. That too went the way of Pelosi’s defeat. Biden applauded the promises and platforms that appeal to Democrats. Boehner was given to just sitting there, looking like he’d rather be enjoying a steak and a cigarette — no applause for the DREAM Act, tuition tax credits, high-speed rail, guaranteed health insurance for pre-existing conditions, raising taxes on the wealthiest 2 percent, “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”

The speech, interrupted 80 times for applause, lasted 62 minutes, which was about 30 minutes too long. What I’d love to know is if the Cabinet member — this year, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar — who is required to stay away from the speech so he or she can carry on the government in case the unthinkable occurs watched the SOTU. Or did he secretly sneak away to a movie?