(Video by Lynn Sweet)
WASHINGTON — Takeaways from the just-concluded White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner weekend:
◆ Barbra Streisand was my favorite celebrity to spot at the giant Saturday night dinner.
I am not above gawking — you all knew, right? I just happened to be hanging near the best table in the giant Washington Hilton hotel ballroom — massive coincidence — when Streisand and husband James Brolin sat down. Their seatmates included Kevin Spacey and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Streisand was next to Bloomberg.
My problem at this event is always that my Hollywood and sports celebrity recognition quotient is too low. I attribute that to watching entirely too much MSNBC, CNN, Fox News and HGTV. And not enough prime time hit TV shows and movies to properly prep for this event.
So that basketball player on crutches I spotted — the star who broke his leg at the University of Louisville/Duke game — what’s his name?
◆ But I did see “Lincoln,” Steven Spielberg’s hit, and a spoof video of Spielberg’s next presidential biopic is my top hit pick. The most hilarious part of President Barack Obama’s schtick was Obama playing Daniel Day-Lewis playing Obama.
Obama, noting that Spielberg and Day-Lewis, who portrayed Lincoln, were in the audience, set it up. Obama said he was a “little nervous” about Spielberg’s next project — throwing it to the video, a mock preview of Spielberg’s pretend new movie, “Obama.”
In faux-documentary style, Spielberg is being interviewed in a movie theater. After Lincoln, he said he was “wondering what to do next,” and then “in the middle of the night I woke up and it hit me: Obama.”
But “picking the right actor to play Obama was a challenge;” until he realized the obvious, Daniel Day-Lewis, because “he becomes his characters. And you know what” . . . he nailed it.”
Cut to Obama, who is identified as “Daniel Day-Lewis, method actor,” explaining his approach to playing Obama.
“Was it hard playing Obama? I’ll be honest, yeah, it was. His accent took awhile.
” . . . The cosmetics were challenging. You wouldn’t believe how long it takes to put these ears on in the morning,” Obama says as he pretends to be attaching his ears.
◆ Another funny video — a “House of Cards” spoof — featured Spacey playing the conniving congressman, who managed somehow to control hard-to-get tickets and seating for the dinner.
White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett had a prominent cameo, where she is calling Spacey’s character, wrangling for a prime seat next to headliner Conan O’Brien. “You know I was supposed to sit next to Conan.”
Later, Spacey’s congressman character worries, “Is Valerie badmouthing me to the president?
◆ Obama’s top zingers:
1. “I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be.”
2. “This whole controversy about Jay-Z going to Cuba — it’s unbelievable. I’ve got 99 problems and now Jay-Z is one.”
3. “Some of my former advisers have switched over to the dark side. For example, David Axelrod now works for MSNBC, which is a nice change of pace since MSNBC used to work for David Axelrod.”
4. Obama was at the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum last week, which inspired, “I’m also hard at work on plans for the Obama Library. And some have suggested that we put it in my birthplace, but I’d rather keep it in the United States.”
◆ O’Brien ripped the media. That’s fair. After all, he is a comic and this was a dinner thrown by a press group. But I don’t care for insulting, taunting humor.
“Fox News is watched by conservatives, MSNBC is watched by liberals and CNN is watched by the people who clean the offices at CNN,” ripped O’Brien.
O’Brien threw a series of cheap shots at the Hilton hotel chain — just as hardworking waiters were working around aggressive table hoppers to serve dinner to 3,000 people.
Self-mockery is smart comedy. Taunting a hotel that did nothing wrong? That’s not funny.