Tag Archives: humor

Fighting Terror with Humor

More on White House speechwriting in September 2001. Though the period was obviously full of tension and concern, there were several lighthearted moments, too. For instance, at one meeting – it might have been on September 12th – when the speech staff was spit-balling ideas for the president’s sure-to-come address to the nation, one of […]

Hints on Humor

Hints on humor, from my West Wing colleague Julia Lam: The Washington Post is shuttering “Mouthpiece Theater,” Howard Kurtz recently announced. In this past week, the satirical video series featuring Dana Milbank and Chris Cillizza drew criticism over an indecorous Hillary Clinton joke.  In retrospect, Cillizza said, “name-calling is never the stuff of good comedy.” […]

Just for Fun

Word lovers, check out the results of the Washington Post’s Style Invitational from Week 820, with guest judge Dave Barry.  The contest invited readers to submit Q and A to and from Mister Language Person, “the great grammarian who appeared in numerous Dave Barry columns back in the day when newspapers had ads and subscriptions […]

A Good Day for Women and Girls

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending Melanne Verveer’s the swearing-in ceremony as our first-ever Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues.  It was a lovely occasion — full of both rejoicing and resolve, as Secretary Clinton and her newest ambassador reaffirmed their commitment to “make sure that the concerns of women and girls remain central […]

Conservatives Aghast at Obama Laughs

What’s with conservatives getting all bent out of shape over humor? Last week, after Wanda Sykes told a few Rush Limbaugh jokes at the White House Correspondents Association dinner, several commentators on the right tut-tutted. “He needs a good waterboarding,” she said, and she claimed “I think he was the twentieth hijacker. But he was […]

WSJ on Sykes on Obama

I’ve written before about the struggle for comedians to find a funny trope to rely on when sending up President Obama. So far, the winner seems to be that he’s just awesome — perhaps too awesome, and perhaps too aware of his own awesomeness. As Vinca pointed out, even Joe Biden advanced the legend that the president has […]

Biden the Gridiron Champ

Reviews are in from this weekend’s Gridiron Dinner, and despite some grumbling (too long, too predictable, the president shoulda been there), it sounds like there were plenty of laughs served up — especially from Vice President Joe Biden, who began: “Axelrod really wanted me to do this on teleprompter — but I told him I’m […]

Funny Business

With the annual Alfalfa Club dinner just around the corner, Washington is entering the so-called “Silly Season” of political speechwriting, when humor prevails from the podium. For those interested in what it’s like to write for the Comedian-in-Chief, I commend Mark Katz’ Washington Monthly piece from January/February 2004, “Mirth of a Nation.” And for more […]

The Comic Stylings of Biden and Obama

In an earlier post, I mentioned the trouble comedians were having coming up with a funny trope to use to poke fun at President Obama. The experts’ conclusion seems to be that Vice President Biden is the fattest target for humor in the Administration. Now we see the story developing further. It’s not just Biden, see, but Obama’s […]

No More “Great Moments”

Mike Allen’s Politico Playbook alerts us to this AP article about the end of David Letterman’s “Great Moments in Presidential Speeches.” In case you’ve missed it, the bit contrasts clips of grand historical presidential rhetoric (“The only thing we have to fear…”; “Ask not…”) with clips from current presidential speeches in which George Bush is […]