Saturday, April 21, 2007
Party Like It's 1984!
Tonight is the White House Correspondent's annual dinner. You know the one. The one Stephen Colbert attended last year. The one where everyone at the dinner hated him and everyone who saw it on TV loved him, thereby illustrating the central problem of the press and the executive branch having cozy dinners that don't include average Americans...
But I digress. Perhaps in response to last year's entertainment, the WHC have selected none other than Rich Little for tonight's dinner. Because god forbid the comedian be funny. God forbid comedy should make people a wee bit uncomfortable. God forbid the President be required to come out, get made fun of, and act graciously regardless. This is not a monarchy, after all.
So. Rich Little. The guy who performed in 1984 for Reagan. The guy who I don't think has had a gig outside of Branson, Missouri, the Poconos or Las Vegas since 1986. Yes indeedy, the WHC decided that this was Rich Little's year to shine, what with all of his fantastic impersonations of rock stars like Adlai Stevenson, Hubert Humphrey and Spiro Agnew. He may be talented but he is dated. He can't even be called "retro," because that implies a sense of subversiveness, a wink to the past in looking at something old in a new way. The selection of Rich Little is just a nod to the fact that the President probably said he wouldn't come if there were an actual comedian present.
Little said, ""They got a lot of letters. I won't even mention the word 'Iraq.'" "They don't want anyone knocking the president. He's really over the coals right now, and he's worried about his legacy."
"For Steve Scully of C-Span, the president of the White house Correspondents Association, this is a game where you can neither win nor lose, no matter what you do. He chose Little this year and had a hand in picking Colbert last year.
"I picked Rich Little because I think he is funny," Scully said in an interview, adding: "This is a dinner we put together and invite the president to. He does not have to be our guest. We want an enjoyable evening..."
I'm not saying that Little is not entitled to his act and that people are not entitled to feel entertained by him. All I'm saying is that sometimes something retro can be really cool, like in the cases of Debbie Harry or the Where's The Beef? lady. Other times, like in the cases of Rich Little and Yakov Smirnoff, it's just really not. Why? Because it's just one more example of how the Third Estate is simultaneously out of touch with Americans and in bed with the very people they are supposed to be monitoring.