The Associated Press is reporting that out comedian Wanda Sykes has announced that she’s been picked to entertain at the annual White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) Dinner in Washington, D.C. on May 9.
Sykes joked, "The first thing I did when they asked me to do this gig — I made sure my taxes were paid."
Sykes added that part of her job will be to "poke fun and ridicule" Obama, perhaps even for being "a little long-winded… we can get him on that." Sykes also said, "I’m not rooting against him at all, because, especially in this economy and everything, we need him to succeed… But there’s gonna be some incidents and missteps, like we saw with the whole tax thing."
The WHCA, founded in 1914, is an organization of journalists who cover the President. The annual dinner event began in 1920 and became a Washington tradition and is usually attended by the President and Vice President, WHCA members, celebrities and the Washington elite.
The dinner usually includes a self-mocking skit (live or taped) by the President, and a performance by a comedian or a musical performance. In years past, some of those have included Drew Carey, Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien, Cedric the Entertainer, and Aretha Franklin.
In 2006, featured entertainer Stephen Colbert (The Colbert Report, The Daily Show) delivered a controversial 16 minute speech and seven minute video (of a mock press conference which ended in a chase scene featuring elderly White House correspondent Helen Thomas) skewering the Bush White House and the media treatment of them and their policies.
The New York Times called the performance a "cultural primary" and the "defining moment" of the United States’ 2006 midterm elections. In case you don’t remember it, you can watch it here. Brilliant doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Gawker.com says that Sykes is, "the first (we think) openly gay person to headline the 89-year-old event."
Well, we can tell you that she’s the first openly gay woman to do so. And that is a big deal.
Do you think the typically racy Sykes will cause a controversy with her performance, or do you think she’ll play it safe for the President she so proudly supported?