Having shown her chops for topical comedy behind the Weekend Update desk at Saturday Night Live, Cecily Strong has been announced as the host of next year’s White House Correspondents’ dinner. Strong will be just the fourth woman to assume the responsibility, but going by the Eleanor Roosevelt jokes she was making during our interview with her for the cover of Time Out New York earlier this year, she knows how to tell a political gag or two. Let’s take a look at some of the best performances from previous years:
Stephen Colbert, 2006
It’s doubtful anyone will ever better Stephen Colbert’s blistering in-character performance, in which he decried reality for its “well-known liberal bias” before verbally dismantling every facet of the Bush administration. “I believe that the government that governs best is the government that governs least, and by those standards, we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq.” Touché, sir.
Wanda Sykes, 2009
Wanda Sykes hosted President Obama’s first Correspondents’ Dinner, but predictably, most of her targets were from the previous administration. “Governor Palin is not here tonight,” she smirked. “She pulled out last minute. Someone should tell her that’s not how you practice abstinence.” She also took several shots at those looking for dirt on the recently elected President. “They're even giving you grief about the dog! Animal rights groups are on you. ‘Why didn't he get a rescue dog?’ Look, the man has to rescue a country that has been abused by its previous owner. Let him have a fresh start with a dog.’”
Craig Ferguson, 2008
Soon-to-depart Late Late Show host Craig Ferguson took a comparatively gentle approach to his speech, opting for soft mockery of DC and LA rather than overt viciousness, but he still found time to throw in a few solid zingers, particularly when referring to his own Scottish heritage. “Word has got out among American comedians that you’re a bit of a tough crowd,” he told the audience while explaining why they weren’t getting a more familiar host. “So this is just another case of immigrants taking jobs Americans don’t want.”