I've been to the White House Correspondents Dinner. And, if history is any judge, then comedians asked to perform there seem to do best when they joke with gentle jibes rather than go for the jugular. Someone should have reminded Wanda Sykes about that before tonight. Because not since Don Imus roughed up Bill Clinton at the annual event has a comedian been so mean-spirited. Certainly, Stephen Colbert wasn't to George W Bush. But, unlike Imus or Colbert, Wanda Sykes didn't lay a glove on the sitting president Barack Obama. Instead, she reserved her barbs for people who weren't there: Dubya, John McCain, Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.
What to make of this? I strongly believe we need our jesters, especially ones who are willing to make fun of people who are actually in power. Maybe someday we'll get a few who are actually willing to make fun of the present administration. For now, we'll just have to do with these warm thoughts from people like Ms. Sykes:
Sykes was at her most vicious on the subject of Rush Limbaugh. "Rush Limbaugh said he hopes this administration fails. That's like saying, 'I hope America fails.' Or that 'I dont care if people are losing their homes, their jobs, our soldiers in Iraq.' He just wants the country to fail. To me, that's treason. He's not saying anything differently than what Osama Bin Laden is saying." Then, turning to the president, Sykes added, "You might want to look into this, sir. Because I think maybe he was the 20th hijacker. But he was just so strung out on Oxycontin that he missed his flight."
Realizing she shocked the crowd with that remark, she said, "Too much? But you're laughing on the inside..."
But she wasn't done. "Rush Limbaugh [says] 'I hope the country fails." I hope his kidneys fail. How about that? He needs some waterboarding, that's what he needs."
Yeah, I'll admit it. Wishing for someone's kidneys to fail makes me laugh on the inside. But then again I'm just a coldhearted bastard. And if my kidneys should ever fail, I'll be sure to let Wanda Sykes know, because I'm sure she'll get a good chuckle out of it.