It’s often said that D.C. doesn’t have a sense of humor, and the National Journal’s Hotline did its best to prove that rule on Friday with its Post-Inaugural Comedy Show, held to honor Thursday’s inaugural and the 125th birthday of Will Rogers. Don’t worry, Fishbowl never really understood the connection.
The audience of mixed red staters, blue staters, and Fourth Estaters cheered wildly for satirist Will Durst and Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA), after the opening acts of The Nation’s David Corn, The Hill’s Al Eisele, and Rep. Dan Boren (D-OK) fell a bit more, um, flat. Later an uncomfortable Wonkette offered up some uncomfortable sex jokes at the standing mike, tossing her auburn hair from side to side.
Several particularly uncomfortable jokes from various participants centered on Time Magazine’s Matt Cooper’s impending stay in federal prison, although Cooper, who was celebrating his 42nd birthday, stayed away from the subject during his time on stage.
The star of the night was Vanity Fair’s Chris Hitchens, who offered up interminablely long but ultimately amusing British accent-tinged jokes about onions and blowjobs.
The second half of the show, comprising of such non-knee slappers as Grover Norquist (who repeatedly mentioned his “lady friend”), the Daily Howler‘s Bob Somerby, Americans United‘s Barry Lynn (who brought an Ann Coulter action figure on stage), and an inexplicable duo of painfully unfunny people who weren’t listed on the program but, judging from their sense of humor, could only be Hill staffers, and who were gently booed from the stage.
Despite its highlights, the night of “comedy,” which stretched to nearly three hours, certainly tried many of those in attendance and there was a steady trickle out from the not-so-full house of the Warner Theater. Fishbowl caught Hotline editor’s himself, Chuck Todd, sneaking out about 2/3 of the way through.