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In Defense (Or Not) of Wanda Sykes



Wanda Sykes's routine has been generating a lot of buzz in the days following the White House Correspondents' Dinner. (Martin H. Simon/Pool via Bloomberg News)

While conservatives are expressing outrage about comedian Wanda Sykes's edgy (and hilarious) routine at Saturday's White House correspondents' dinner, the main organizer of the event says Sykes was a big hit.

"I thought she was hysterical, I thought she was fantastic," Associated Press reporter Jennifer Loven, who is president of the White House Correspondents' Association, tells the Sleuth.

About the wave of criticism Sykes is enduring for her racy jokes about conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, Loven says, "I'm not surprised. There's criticism of something a comedian says or does every year."

The AP White House reporter, who as president of the association presided over every aspect of Saturday's dinner, says it's "not my job to defend Sykes." However, she says, "I don't have any interest in censoring her either."

Loven says that anecdotally at least, more people seemed to like Sykes's routine than not.

Even the ex-Bush cabinet was seen laughing up a storm at both President Obama's and Sykes's jokes. Former Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who sat just feet apart from one other at adjoining tables on the far rim of the ballroom in the Hilton Washington hotel, seemed to enjoy Sykes's jokes about loquacious Vice President Biden and torture.

Their mood quickly changed, however, when Sykes' went off on her riff about Limbaugh being the 20th hijacker, according to sources who were seated near the two. (Sykes joked, "I think Rush Limbaugh was the 20th hijacker, but he was just so strung out on Oxycontin he missed his flight." She also wished kidney failure upon him.)

During his daily briefing Monday, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said he hadn't spoken directly to the president about Sykes's jokes but said, "I think there are a lot of topics that are better left for serious reflection rather than comedy. I think there's no doubt 9/11 is part of that."

And seeking to distance the president from the edgy comedian, he added, "I don't know how the guests get booked."

Loven says she has received no complaints from either offended conservatives or anyone at the White House for her choice of comedian.

By Mary Ann Akers  |  May 11, 2009; 5:41 PM ET
 
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Comments

It's amazing to me how Conservatives get their nose out of joint when someone, such as Sykes, pokes fun at one of their own, like Limbaugh. Otherwise, they are the first to rail against political correctness. As for Limbaugh, no one should even think about defending him. Apparently he can dish it out, but he just can't take it.

Posted by: victell | May 12, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I think Wanda Sykes was great. All the complainers should SHUT UP. She is only comming to the defence of our PRESIDENT OBAMA.
Where was all this OUTRAGE when Rush Limbaugh and the GOP wishing for the President to Fail..Shouldnt they be considered for Treason.
I SAY "YOU GO WANDA SYKES, YOU KICK SOME GOP TAIL..!!!!

Posted by: harry43us | May 12, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Why Wanda Sykes? The woman isn't funny and has an irritating voice. Her only claim to fame is a brief stint on the NFL. Could it be that she fit the Obama profile of being black, a woman and a lesbian?

Posted by: gerrypooh | May 12, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Wonder why Hannity did not mention Wanda mentioning him and Keith O at the dinner and was all upset over the Rush mention. Hmmm

Posted by: NGrunge | May 12, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Regarding, the comment by "gerrypooh"...what?!?!?!? "...fit the Obama profile of being black, a woman and a lesbian?" I didn't get the memo that this was President Obama's profile. Have you forgotten the Correspondent's dinner where good ole Dubya went into his "riff" about looking for WMD's all over the White House...in the closet...under the bed...?!?!?!? Talk about innappropriate. Taking the nation into an unwarranted war based on false and "doctored" intellgence?!?!? And you, "gerrypooh" are offended by jokes about Limbaugh who's one of the nastiest, most offensive people on the planet who constantly makes vicious racial jokes, homophobic jokes and oh, by the way, was caught illegally obtaining a prescription narcotic (quite ALOT of it actually...)?!?!??! But that's OK, right "gerrypooh"?!?!? Give me a break.

Posted by: DGFMitchell | May 12, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

All's fair in comedy and war. What's the kerfuffle about? Limbaugh, Hannity and the other right wing nut bloviators constantly and absurdly accuse Obama of nefarious plots in league with enemies and terrorists, hatred of America and say they hope his policies fail. None of this is particularly funny to me (especially compared to how funny Sykes is), but he is a public figure and is fair game and so are they.

Posted by: jander2 | May 12, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

MS. SYKES IS A COMEDIAN. SHE DID A GOOD JOB. I UNDERSTAND THAT WHEN JON STEWART WAS THE COMMEDIAN, HE WAS NOT CONSIDERED FUNNY BECAUSE THE AUDIENCE DID NOT UNDERSTAND HIS JOKES.
WHAT WANDA DID WAS TO PULL THE JOKES FROM THE COAT ROOM TO THE STAGE.
ABSTANACE DID NOT MAKE PALINS DAUGHTER PREGNANT. SYKES IMPLYED BETTER BIRTH CONTROL.
LUSH LIMBOUGH ADMITS HE USES DRUGS. IF HE WERE POOR BLACK OR ANY OTHER POOR PERSON HE WOULD BE IN JAIL. AS A HATER OF EVERYTHING, THERE IS NO REASON TO BELIEVE THAT HE COULD NOT HAVE BEEN THE 20TH HIJACKER. IT IS STILL BELIEVED IN SOME CIRCLES THAT THE WHOLE 911 SITUATION WAS STAGED BY SOMEONE OTHER THAN ALQUEIDA.
WANDA SYKES IS A COMMEDIAN, NOT A POLITICAL ANALYST OR PARTY LEADER LIKE LIMBOUGH OR COULTER OR OTHERS, EVEN THOUGH THEY MAKE US LAUGH. SYKES APPEARED TO BE VERY FAIR IN HER JOKES. SHE WAS GREAT.

Posted by: sm98yth | May 12, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Wanda wouldn't have been able to make the joke about Rush Limbaugh if he hadn't been cited for illegally using oxycontin and hadn't made a number of comments that were destructive.

He'd have been far more vigorously criticized if he'd said during World War II that he hoped our president Roosevelt would fail while so many were dying to preserve his right to spew venom and outright lies day after day.

The president's speech was outstanding, clever and very funny.

Posted by: BettyW1 | May 12, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

ah, the righty commentariat: first to give offense, first to take offense and last to take responsibility. It has reached the point that you can tell exactly what the Republican Party has done or is doing, by seeing what the commentariat accuses the liberals of doing on any particular day.
As for Wanda Sykes, I didn't find her terribly funny, but anything that sticks a pin in that animated compost heap named Limbaugh is alright in my book.

Posted by: jcrobin | May 12, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

I thought she was way over the line.1st Rush said he hoped Obamas policy failed(socialist)and he never wished him dead.What a horrible thing to suggest that Rush was the 20th hijacker.You may not agree with him but that is way unfair.As for hoping his kidneys would fair,how can that be considered funny?

Posted by: BTobias62 | May 12, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

["conservatives are expressing outrage"}

Gee, stop the presses. The "conservatives" are outraged!

At this point, do the thin-skinned and always-angry "conservatives" do anything else than express (mock) outrage?

No, they don't, until it comes to sucking up to Rush and crew, at which point they suddenly morph into giddy sycophants.

Sykes was hilarious.

Posted by: wagner3792 | May 12, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Having observed many of the past years' correspondents' dinner comedy routines, I would have to say that this one struck a new and inapprpriate low. The purpose is to roast the president, but it seems that many are afraid to do so (maybe it is because of the Chicago Al Capone style retribution that many are associating with Obama.) The "jokes" about Limbaugh, and Palin for that matter, were in incredibly poor taste and it was a so disappointing to see the president laugh in such a classless and vulgar way. Very sad.

Posted by: mollen | May 12, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Why are we wasting tax payer dollars to have our President and government officials take part in this "Hollywood" event? Why are there Hollywood actors at this event? Shouldn't people from communities and politics be there? How many correspondents were uninvited so that Hollywood's elite could attend instead? Why was Wanda Sykes booked over more popular comics and why was Jennifer Loven given so much power to run the whole show? This is all pretty staged and smells like another one of Hollywood's opportunistic ploys. It reminds me of a high school prom This whole event is unethical and very, very tacky; especially in today’s times.

Posted by: dotherightthing3 | May 12, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Wanda Sykes spoke for millions and millions of non-Dittohead Americans who are sick of the chicken hawk bullies who, in fact, hate our Constitution and then try to project their hatred of it on all who refuse to bend to their bullying.

Her analogy of a bank robber justifying his heist with all the good he did with the money was perfect. (So was her joke about wishing kidney failure on Limbaugh.)

We need to stop calling these right-wing Republicans "conservatives." They are Anti-Constitutional radicals, pure and simple. Traitors.

Posted by: TerryOakland | May 12, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse

I didn't think Syke's jokes about Rush were hilarious, but I certainly was not offended. Look, the man has made himself into a shining icon for millions of Americans who are filled with hate and ignorance, so he invites derision. And his comments on hoping that Obama fails are clearly childish and venomous, like saying one hopes the patient dies to prove that the doctor's treatment is wrong. Limbaugh deserves every barb he gets.

Posted by: ejmurphy414 | May 13, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Wishing anyone dead because of a different political perspective is tasteless. Limbaugh is a lot of things, that we may agree or disagree with, but wishing him dead? Even humor has it boundaries, I hope. And the reference to 9/11 was sad too. I remember when Conan O'Brian humilitated Hillary and Bill Clinton - tasteless. If you remember that one, the Clinton's became very sober. Bill Clinton changed his speach on the spot that evening and made a speach on sobering topics. Admittedly Limbaugh is not the President, but he is certainly not a terrorist either. Overall Sykes was funny, but could have easily poked fun at Limbaugh and others without stooping to those lows. And the point would have been equally made. Feherty's comments regarding Pelosi, funny too? I though his remarks were ugly as well - but I give him credit for having the decency to apologize.

Posted by: chipgiii | May 13, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

You go Wanda!! And don't back down the way the weanie Republicans do!

Posted by: nwsjnky1 | May 13, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Why all the fuss ?

Limbaugh's fat @ss is going to just keel over one of these days anyway, either because he's so damn fat and his heart finally has enough or he'll OD on something. (They guy's still on some kind of dope. No normal person could come up with his sh.it without being high.)

At any rate, he's scum and trying to act like she said something wrong is way beyond stupid for the Repubs. Jesus, you guys gave us clowns for 8 years, and now that real humor shows up you get all offended.

Posted by: dennissuper | May 13, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

I SAY DITTO TO EVERYTHING WANDA SYKES SAID ONLY I MEAN IT!! YOU CAN'T GO LOW ENOUGH REGARDING, FAT BOY RUSH. HE IS THE SCUM OF THE EARTH, AND A TERRORIST IN EVERY SINCE OF THE WORD. IF HIS KIDNEYS FAIL, IT WOULD BE A BLESSING TO AMERICA. HE IS A CANCER. I DONOT APPOLIGIZE FOR WHAT I SAY, BECAUSE WHO AM I? JUST A VOICE, WITH FREEDOM OF SPEECH. THAT THE REPUGS WOULD RATHER I DIDN'T HAVE. TOO BAD.

Posted by: isom696 | May 13, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

If you want a criticism of Wanda Sykes act, I'm the wrong one to ask. I thought she was very funny. I will say, in all honesty, I think Obama was funnier.
Did Sykes go too far in saying Limbaugh should have a kidney failure or he should be waterboarded? Perhaps, but I think the two comments came closer to being a comedic failure than a moral one. They were less funny than her comment about being the twentyth terrorist.

Posted by: janlovell_7 | May 13, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

So when Rush said he hopes Obama fails in his attempt to bring America closer to socialism, it's a scandal and somehow anti-American.

But when an also-ran comic at a white-tie event says she hopes Rush dies of kidney failure, that's just good stuff.

Ok, then let me try my hand at this since those jokes were deemed so hilarious by Mary Ann. She might pee her pants, these are so funny:

- I hope Bill Clinton dies of an STD!!!! hahahahah....
- I think Obama was one of the terrorists plotting to blow up the WTC in the 90's. He was just too busy having fundraisers with domestic terrorists that he forgot to show up the day the other Islamic terrorists got caught! hehehehehehe.....

You're right, Mary Ann. Wishing death on your political opponents or linking them with terrorists is HILARIOUS!

I can just imagine how all the press corps in attendance that night would have been rolling in the aisles if the jokes above had been told...

Posted by: dbw1 | May 13, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

I thought the best part of the event was that it illustrated in fine form the true compassion of liberals.

The event billed itself as being held to raise money and awareness for the homeless. The A-list of Hollywood elite were all there....Buffet, Geittner, and all the Ivy-leaguers were well represented.....hundreds upon hundreds of the liberal press corps who pat themselves on the back for being so 'compassionate' were all there.

And they raised $90k. That's how compassionate liberals are. They are very compassionate with YOUR money, just not theirs. The hypocrisy of liberalism raises its ugly head once again....

Posted by: dbw1 | May 13, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Hey, everyone - knock it off...

This is a silly forum for airing all your personal/political animosities. If you're looking for an 'excuse' to fight, pick something a bit more substantiative, and then you can pretend, at least, to be having a policy discussion.

The comedy routine may have been in poor taste, but so were some of Bush's 'jokes' on previous occasions. I'm certain that Rush Limbaugh is not offended, as his type thrives on this sort of thing - there's no such thing as 'bad publicity' from his point of view...

To me, President Obama is something of a joke, though unlike Rush, I am hoping for success rather than failure. But even if B.H.O. is a bit of a cartoonish figure, our 'Yale Cowboy" G.W.B. was even more so...

Posted by: Guy-Hardrock | May 14, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

We love our freedoms, our rights, and this country, notwithstanding our gripes about an angry comedian and greater battles described, today sadly and accurately,in "Tincture of Lawlessness":

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/13/AR2009051303014.html?wpisrc=newsletter&wpisrc=newsletter&wpisrc=newsletter

Posted by: qaz70 | May 14, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Wanda Sykes just shows what kind of idiots are running this country. HATERS!! Conservatives would never stoop that low and look who's yukking it up on the sidelines...the self appointed messiah himself. Why has no one addressed the fact that she said very low, "am I going too far?" They need to put her along with Janene Garofolo and the rest of the left wing trailer trash on a plane to Iran where they belong. The liberals are bringing us down so far it will be a miracle if we survive the Obama years. They are all jerks, just like their leader. If you libs can't take this, then maybe you'll be lucky enough to have YOUR kidneys fail.

Posted by: mickyap | May 14, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Beg pardon there, dbw1, but the correspondents dinner is not a govt funded affair. The attendants paid to sit in those seats, not the general public. So how is this a case of 'liberals' using OUR money and being hypocrites? They spent their own money to there.

If you can't keep your panties in a smooth fit, at least TRY to get your facts right. The President didn't organize the event. The head of the WHCA did. That was her responsibility all alone. Guess that little factoid escaped your mental grasp. When salacious assaults were made upon anyone who dared not swallow the Bush White Hse kool-aid, Rush and crew wasted no time in denouncing them, questioning their patriotism. You didn't have a problem with that but then those, apparently, are your type of Hollywood celebrities.

Face it guy, there's been a change in leadership, effected by the American people. WE chose HOPE and PRESERVERANCE over blind adherence to lies and deception.

Posted by: Stgtr8287Wasser | May 14, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Beg pardon there, dbw1, but the correspondents dinner is not a govt funded affair. The attendants paid to sit in those seats, not the general public. So how is this a case of 'liberals' using OUR money and being hypocrites? They spent their own money to there.

If you can't keep your panties in a smooth fit, at least TRY to get your facts right. The President didn't organize the event. The head of the WHCA did. That was her responsibility all alone. Guess that little factoid escaped your mental grasp. When salacious assaults were made upon anyone who dared not swallow the Bush White Hse kool-aid, Rush and crew wasted no time in denouncing them, questioning their patriotism. You didn't have a problem with that but then those, apparently, are your type of Hollywood celebrities.

Face it guy, there's been a change in leadership, effected by the American people. WE chose HOPE and PRESERVERANCE over blind adherence to lies and deception.

Posted by: Stgtr8287Wasser | May 14, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Stgtr8287Wasser:

Did you get into your big brothers bag of pot before getting on here today? Your post is nonsensical. Neither of my posts implied the correspondents dinner was paid for with taxpayer money.

Posted by: dbw1 | May 14, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

I though she was fantastic. Watch Funny Videos

Posted by: roverfind | May 15, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

jcrobin: Limbaugh, "an animated compost heap"? Hah! That would make the man a freak of nature. Nature ain't that stupid. The man's a cesspool. A festering cesspool for drugs, obesity and corruption. A uniquely American icon of rampant greed and spleen bigotry. Now,there's where you'd want to stick your pin. Comics humanize their targets. Paints them into sharper focus so we can seek their horrid shamelessness.

Posted by: mykei | May 16, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

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