The Laugh Track
Being side-splitting funny in sober Washington is no easy task; just ask the ten gutsy participants in the 12th Annual Funniest Celebrities in Washington Contest held at The Mayflower Hotel on October 19th.
The yearly ritual consists of brave hearted politicians, journalists, athletes and other high profile players who roll up their sleeves, unbutton their shirts, let down their hair, write their own scripts and expose themselves to ridicule from their peers with the hopes of walking away unscathed.
Ordinarily, that’s enough to scare anyone, but since their entertaining skills raise money for D.C. based charities, there have always been many willing participants that have included Senator Joe Lieberman, Chris Matthews, Tim Russert, former Congresswoman Susan Molinari and former Senator Tom Daschle. This year’s charity recipient was Bread for the World Institute, a bipartisan organization which advocates antihunger legislation.
On with the show:
WJLA’s Kathleen Matthews emceed, here’s the take:
Clarence Page: “Bill Bennett is in the house tonight, the former Secretary of Education: Run black babies, run.
” “I asked Bill Clinton if his wife was going to run for President.
He said, I don’t know, I’ll ask her when I see her again.”
“I hope this is not like the horror movies where the black guy dies first.”
“Thank you. I appreciate the mercy laugh.”
Rep. Brian Baird: “I just got in from my 47th visit to New Orleans.”
“You know, Harriett Miers once said I was the most brave man she ever met. (no audience response). She’s The Supreme Court nominee. People ask me if Harriett is qualified to serve on The Supreme Court and I tell them [she is qualified] as much as I am [qualified] to be President of The United States.”
Event founder, Richard Siegel is the man who brings humor to Washington intentionally: “We’ve got some great celebrities that have come here tonight to share their time. We did invite Brown from FEMA; he’s supposed to show up here [in a month].”
The Mayor of Washington D.C. Tony Williams: “First of all, you can put your wine glasses down because I’ve got police positioned all over the street.”
“People ask me what I am going be doing on my next job and suggest that I should think about getting a job with American University. But there aren’t enough perks. Or a job with FEMA so someone can finally tell me I’m doing a heck of a job.”
Andrew Sullivan: Funny but not printable.
Runner-up Rep. Linda Sanchez: “It’s hard to be a single woman in Washington. The only Republicans that hit on me are married and the only men I hit on are gay.”
She went on to tell the tale of a recent boyfriend who had gone out with her six times and still no good night kiss. When she confronted him on the matter he said he was intimidated by the fact that she was a member of Congress. “So I had him audited.”
On Internet dating: “Now I can’t just give a guy a wrong number. I have to give him a wrong number, a wrong cell number, a wrong email address and hope to God that he doesn’t see me on my website. You know, I look very different on the internet.”
“I hear that Eva Longoria wants to play me in a series, but call it ‘The Desperate Congresswoman’.”
“And the number one reason why I will not date a Republican? They make love like they make war: they lie to get in and have no plan on what to do once they get there.”
“So most guys I meet these days are cab drivers. Let’s just say I’ve been spending a lot of time in the back seat.”
John Dickerson: “Many people think Harriet Miers was chosen in the way we picked who had to turn out the light last in the dorm; whoever held their finger to their nose last.”
Arch conservative Grover Norquist on marriage: “It’s like being a Ken Doll. You don’t get to dress yourself.”
Rep. Adam Schiff: He did a take off of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” and announced that recently indicted Scooter Libby is the next Supreme Court Nominee. “He apparently told President Bush that he is not only the smartest man he knew but the sexiest man alive.”
Mark Russell: The show’s star spoke of the Harriet Myers cocktail, he doesn’t know what’s in it and neither does anyone else. “It’s an empty glass,”
And the winner: Congressman Brian Baird, according to judges Roxanne Roberts, Jim Kimsey, Juan Williams, Rep. Brad Sherman, Rep.Dennis Kucinich and WTOP’ s Bob Madigan. Of course, this is not including political humorist Mark Russell who stole the show, but didn’t count.
“Winning this event is a real honor; it feels sort of like being the tallest basketball player on the midget basketball team,” joked Baird. “It’s nice when folks from both sides of the aisle can come together and share a few laughs for such a wonderful cause.”
Craig Crawford’s Attack the Messenger book launching at The Press Club: “Politicians and the media are natural enemies, but now it’s all-out war.”
Art Buchwald’s Beating Around the Bush: “It’s wonderful that everyone is getting indicted because that makes me a rich man.” “It’s now time to let FEMA save the White House.”