Politics

'Nerd Prom': 8 memorable moments

By Deena Zaru

Updated 4:37 PM ET, Tue April 28, 2015
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The White House Correspondents' Association Dinner, also known as the "Nerd Prom," marks the time of year when the red carpet comes to Washington, when celebrities mingle with (or dodge) politicians, when Republicans and Democrats break bread -- not each other -- and when the President of the United States willingly (or reluctantly) attends his own roast. AFP/Getty Images
And whether the night is full of moments to remember or awkward silences to forget depends on whether you are the butt of the joke. AFP/Getty Images
At a monumental farewell speech at the dinner in 2000, it was time for President Bill Clinton to put on a show himself that many would remember. "Now, I know lately I haven't done a very good job at creating controversy, and I'm sorry for that. You all have so much less to report," Clinton said. He then proceeded to show a short film of how he was coming to terms with leaving the White House: solemnly wandering around the White House alone, making origami paper designs, trimming the hedges of the White House lawn and with everyone gone, including Hillary, taking calls and messages intended for his staff. AFP/Getty Images
In one of the most brutal presidential roasts, comedian Stephen Colbert tore into President George W. Bush's foreign policy in 2006, hammering the 43rd President over the Iraq War. "I believe the government that governs best is the government that governs least," Colbert deadpanned, "and by these standards, we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq." Some Bush supporters left the room.
While Bush played it cool during Colbert's roast, the White House was reportedly so angry that staffers ensured that a safer and friendlier comic, impressionist Rich Little, was invited to perform at 2007's dinner. Little had not performed at such a gathering since the Reagan years and some found his jokes and Nixon impressions stale and unmemorable. However, Little's selection was memorable in itself because it was viewed as a direct reaction to the ruthless roast of Bush in 2006. JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
The usually reserved first lady Laura Bush surprised everyone in 2005 when she took the podium and showed Americans a different side of herself and began to skewer her husband. "I am married to the President of the United States, and here's our typical evening: Nine o'clock, Mr. Excitement here is sound asleep, and I'm watching 'Desperate Housewives' — with Lynne Cheney," Bush said. "Ladies and gentlemen, I am a desperate housewife. I mean, if those women on that show think they're desperate, they ought to be with George." AFP/Getty Images
In 2011, comedian Seth Myers got rave reviews for his performance at the White House Correspondents Dinner, but real estate mogul Donald Trump was clearly not amused. "Donald Trump has been saying that he will run for president as a Republican," Myers sneered, "which is surprising, because I just assumed he was running as a joke." Trump remained expressionless and silent amid a sea of laughter. Myers wasn't done: "Donald Trump often appears on Fox, which is ironic, because a fox often appears on Donald Trump's head." Getty Images
Trump's troubles did not end with Seth Myers' hits at the 2011 dinner. President Barack Obama mocked Trump's "birther campaign," in which he pushed Obama to release his birth certificate to prove that he was not born in Kenya. "Now, I know that he's taken some flak lately, but no one is prouder to put this birth certificate to rest than The Donald," Obama said. "Now he can get to focusing on the issues that matter. Like, did we fake the moon landing? What really happened at Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?" AFP/Getty Images
Fresh off winning a second term in the White House, Obama started the 2013 dinner with a bang by walking onto the stage to DJ Khaled's song "All I Do Is Win." "How do you like my new entrance music?" Obama asked. He then proceeded to hint that during his second term he might now be dancing to a different tune: "Actually, my advisers were a little worried about the new rap entrance music. They are a little more traditional. They suggested that I should start with some jokes at my own expense, just take myself down a peg. I was like, guys, after four and a half years, how many pegs are there left?" Getty Images
In addition to Obama's comic address, Conan O'Brien managed to pull off one of the funniest WHCD performances of all time in 2013. He took shots at everyone, including the media, utilizing the metaphor of high school cliques: "Fox is the jocks. MSNBC is the nerds. Bloggers are the goths. NPR is the table for kids with peanut allergies. Al Jazeera is the weird foreign exchange student nobody talks to. Print media, you're the poor kid who died sophomore year in a car crash. Cheer up, we dedicate the yearbook to you!" Getty Images