The White House Correspondents Dinner speaker is a particularly challenging job. Half the room on either side of the political aisle is likely going to hate any joke you do. And the large ballroom isn't the most conducive venue for a comedy routine -- not so much for performing, but more that I've never felt the room is mic'ed for sound well, and so the response appears to be more deadened than I suspect it actually is for those in the audience.
Afterwards, I watched a little discussion on TV analyzing her performance (which I found deeply thin -- the analysis, that is, as I find it tends to be after this event). One person was asked if they felt she had been an equal opportunity insulter to both parties, and the woman said "yes." Which is utterly ridiculous, because it seemed like 90% of the material was slamming Trump and the GOP. I'm not saying they didn't deserve it, just that I don't know what monologue that analyst was watching. That said, among her few jokes at the expense of Democrats, she did have a particularly good one about the Clinton campaign.
She also had a several scathing jokes at the expense of Kellyanne Conway and Sarah Huckabee Sanders (who sat on the dais as a "replacement" for the absent Trump. I'm guessing she's going to tell her boss that she wishes he'd sent someone else to sit in such a visible spot. Because neither she or Ms. Conway were amused. In fairness, not all the jokes about them were that good. But some were. And they were all brutal. Or savage, take your choice...
Criticism on the right about the monologue on social media was fascinating. Not that they were required to find everything in it funny (they weren't) or that they shouldn't have thought it harsh. (It was.) But for the past two years we've seen so many of Trump's harshest comments -- most memorably the ridicule of a disabled reporter -- dismissed by his spokespeople, notably Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Kellyanne Conway, as being just jokes. And his most-loyal supporters taking special pride in being called "Despicables" and going out of their way to hold up signs and rallies on behalf of being Politically Incorrect. But when there's what is literally a comedy monologue, they're complaining about it being "mean." I guess a "snowflake" is in the eye of the beholder.
Speaking of which, I saw two Twitter responses that stood out for me. One was from former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who called the monologue "a disgrace." I replied --
The other tweet came from New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman. She wrote -- "That @PressSec sat and absorbed intense criticism of her physical appearance, her job performance, and so forth, instead of walking out, on national television, was impressive."
I replied back --