‘SNL’ star Cecily Strong slays ’em at White House correspondents’ dinner

Strong is the fourth woman to deliver the address.

April 26, 2015 19:21
2 minute read.

US President Barack Obama greets Saturday Night Live comedian Cecily Strong after her monologue at the 2015 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner in Washington April 25. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Saturday Night Live star Cecily Strong rose to the occasion Saturday night with her masterful skewering of Washington’s elite at the White House correspondents’ dinner. The dinner, or “Nerd Prom” as it’s been affectionately referred to by those who attend, is a daunting task for every comedian that has graced the podium. Following the president (and mocking him to his face), being cutting (but not nasty) and topical (but making sure jokes aren’t too obscure) are all part of the delicate balancing act that comics must perform.

“[I wanted to say] a couple very pointed things, to make some points that are my own opinions, but still try to go after everybody – not in a mean way, necessarily,” Strong told The New York Times before the big night.

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On that count, Strong delivered, and made sure everybody had their helping of humble pie.

Rudimentary joke on how inaccessible broadcaster C-Span is? Check. Mocking the Hilton hotel – a rather ordinary and underwhelming venue for such a star-studded crowd? Check. And of course, a joke about how Obama has aged before our eyes was expected since every comic during his administration went there – but nobody expected hers to have so much bite.

“Your hair is so white now, it can talk back to the police,” she said, in a comment that elicited a mixture of boos and laughs.

As the fourth woman to deliver the address, Strong said she wasn’t looking to make a big political statement.

“I’ll be in a gown, which they haven’t seen in a while. But that’s really as far as I’m thinking of it. I’m not going as a big statement. Although if people take it that way, that’s pretty cool too,” she told the Times.

However, much of her material was geared to women’s issues, and specifically Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

“I’m excited about Hillary running, but I’m not sure she’s excited to run. She must feel like Meryl Streep when she’s asked to audition for something,” she said.

She even engaged the audience in pledging an oath to “solemnly swear not to talk about Hillary’s appearance because that is not journalism.”

(Her ostensible support for Clinton didn’t stop her from skewering the presidential hopeful.) Of Congressman Tom Cotton’s controversial letter to Iran in March, Strong joked, “[Tom Cotton] was just trying to repair Washington’s strained relationship with Israel. But he doesn’t need to worry about that. America’s relationship with Israel will be much better in the next administration, after they make a generous donation to the Clinton Foundation.”

But, of course, the night wouldn’t be complete without a few barbs directed at the president himself.

Of his waning term, with her simultaneously flirtatious and cutting delivery she said, “You’re a lot like Madonna: you’ve both given this country so much, but in a year and a half, you gotta stop.”

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