When comedians flatter the president, they become court jesters, and the country becomes a banana republic. There are probably even people who would wish to misconstrue that last phrase of mine if they felt "sensitive" enough. In which case they can take a number, get on line, and ask to suck my thumb.
And also the bare-faced truth:
Still, the president did intermittently grasp the main point of the evening, which is that any humor must in some way be at the expense of the guest of honor: namely and on this occasion, himself. He showed he understood this when he opened with a gag about his famous reliance on teleprompters and when he told his audience, deadpan, "Many of you cover me. All of you voted for me." The whole point of self-deprecation is that it disarms: You do not have to be a masochist to know how to practice it.
But the most interesting insight CH has concerning the POTUS:
President Bush used to tell jokes about his weaknesses, the most salient of these being his tragic struggle with grammar, itself quite possibly rooted in dyslexia. Many of President Obama's jokes, his speechwriters should take note, were at the expense of his strengths—"I might lose my cool"—and were thus bordering on the narcissistic. (If I have a fault, and I'm the first to admit it, it's probably this: I am too sweet and too patient and too tolerant of the mistakes of others.)
Sykes sucks, in the end. But Obama is dangerously taken with himself. And that is much more dangerous than a second-rate comics' egregious suck-ups.