Without Stephen Colbert lambasting journalistic complacency or Karl Rove rapping like in years past, videos from the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner this weekend weren’t preordained to go viral. Plus, they had to compete with Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg’s catch and obscene “Motherlover.” And not to mention, there was nothing controversial about President Barack Obama’s speech or comedian Wanda Sykes’ roast. They were funny, yes, but born of high approval ratings and a comfortable relationship with the media. (Update: Never say “nothing controversial” in this day and age! Some think Sykes’ comments were too partisan.)
YouTube shows C-SPAN’s official versions of the two speeches at around 100,000 views (with more for Obama’s), and some unofficial versions have about that number as well. To be sure, they still have plenty of time; the dinner was only Saturday. And popular sites like the Huffington Post are hosting the videos themselves sans public play counts. But, by contrast, two of the many bootleg versions of Colbert getting serious and “MC Rove” have nearly 1.8 million and 700,000 views on YouTube, respectively.
Obama on Hillary Clinton:
“We had been rivals during the campaign, but these days we could not be closer. In fact, the second she got back from Mexico, she pulled me into a hug and gave me a big kiss — told me to get down there myself.”
Sykes on Sarah Palin:
“I know Governor Palin, she’s not here tonight. She pulled out at the last minute. You know, somebody should tell her that’s not really how you practice abstinence.”