Huffpost Entertainment
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Danny Groner Headshot

Top 5 Most Surprising Comedians to Perform at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner

Posted: Updated:

Last weekend, Jay Leno regaled guests at the White House Correspondents dinner with jokes about the president and politics. The dinner made headlines this year after critics, observers and attendees all agreed that Obama's punch lines knocked out Leno's. In past years, the event met controversy when guest entertainer Stephen Colbert made such personal jokes targeting President Bush that several guests walked out in the middle. While no comedians before ever matched the level of opposition and intrigue that Colbert and Leno met, some members of the prestigious list of prior year's dinner entertainers might amaze you. Here's, a sample from their appearances and a those who overshadowed some of their performances:

5. Drew Carey (2002). The actor/comedian delivered jokes about the intersection of religion and marketing, saying, "Why is the Christian religion the only one in the world that needs a mascot to sell their stuff? You don't see Jewish people out celebrating with the Passover kangaroo," reports Time's Richard Zoglin. But, it was President Bush who "showed off his timing and delivery" and leaving a lasting impression with the audience, says The New York Times.

4. Ray Romano (1998). Romano mostly told jokes about being a parent, staying away from ridiculing the politicians and media types before him. "They hired me because they knew I wasn't going to do political stuff," Romano told The Washington Post. President Clinton stole the show at the event, but Romano wasn't one of the many laughing: "[U]nfortunately, I didn't get half the jokes."

3. Cedric the Entertainer (2005). He met the same fate that Romano did, upstaged by a bigger name. Only in this case it was the first lady, Laura Bush, who killed. "I thought I could follow the President," he told the New York Daily News. "The First Lady is something different." NPR has a sound bite from Cedric's speech.

2. Darrell Hammond (2001). "Hammond does takeoffs of Bill Clinton and Al Gore but thoughtfully avoids the newly elected President," says Time's Zoglin. Bush's routine features "cracks about the 2000 election recount."

1. Sinbad (1991). "Sinbad taunted Barbara Bush about looking like a grandmother," says Maureen Dowd in The New York Times.