Saturday night will be the last night President Barack Obama will host the White House Correspondents dinner.
Obama usually uses these dinners to poke fun at Washington, and he doesn’t hold any punches when he goes after Fox News and people like Donald Trump.
You might remember Obama’s speech at the 2011 dinner, when he absolutely skewered Trump.
“No one is happier about this than The Donald,” Obama said in reference to releasing his long form birth certificate. “Because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter. Like, did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?”
“All kidding aside, we all know about your credentials and breadth of experience – for example, in a recent episode of The Apprentice, at the steakhouse, the men’s cooking team did not impress the judges from Omaha Steaks,” Obama said, to a visibly flustered Trump.
He continued: “And there was a lot of blame to go around, but you, Mr. Trump, recognized that the real problem was a lack of leadership. So ultimately you didn’t blame Little John, or Meatloaf, you fired Gary Busey. These are the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night.”
Recently, Jon Lovett, one of Obama’s former speechwriters, joined Jon Favreau and Dan Pfeiffer, also former Obama staffers, on the Channel 33 podcast to discuss how Obama’s legendary speech at the 2011 dinner came about:
- REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
“First of all, we had written a different speech, I believe,” says Lovett. “It was before the birth certificate was actually released to the public. We had worked on a whole speech.”
The speechwriters had joked just a few days prior to the dinner that if the birth certificate was released in time, they’d have to rewrite the entire speech. It was, and they did – knowing that Trump, one of the leading proponents of the birther movement, was going to be at the dinner, the writers seized the opportunity to make some jokes at his expense.
“I think it actually ended up making it better” says Lovett. “It really forced us to take what we had and make it work.”
In a separate anecdote, Lovett says he spoke to Judd Apatow – the writer and producer of “Anchorman” fame – and Apatow ranted for almost 30 minutes about how ridiculous it is that people took Trump seriously. That rant inspired the dinner’s famous joke about “Celebrity Apprentice,” the show that Trump hosted at the time.
“For that joke to happen, I’d say there was a solid 45 minutes to an hour where I was just reading through the synopsis of episode after episode of Celebrity Apprentice,” Lovett said.
“That was a dark moment,” he joked.
Listen to the rest of the podcast here.