In a Variety magazine profile piece published days before Cecily Strong takes to the podium to emcee the White House Correspondents Association dinner, Saturday Night Live player Cecily Strong gushed that President Obama is "an amazingly funny guy" and "maybe our funniest president."
What would make a professional comedian make such a statement? She explained:
You know, his timing is great. He had that moment at the State of the Union where he said [in a comeback to GOP detractors], "Well I should know because I won two of them." I’ve never said anything that cool on the spot. That’s one of the things you think of after like, "Oh, I should have said that." And so, it’s tough to follow that guy.
Elsewhere in the profile piece, Variety senior editor Ted Johnson noted that Strong's brother helped out in Obama's 2004 U.S. Senate campaign and that Strong is a huge fan of Stephen Colbert's turn at the emcee duties back in 2006, wherein he savaged President Bush (emphasis mine):
She said that it “felt like the right year” to do the dinner as President Obama also has Chicago-area roots. “It was really sort of like, ‘Well, it’s now or never,'” she says of taking the gig.
Strong, 31, grew up in Oak Park, Ill. Her father is a former journalist who is now in public relations, and her brother actually ran the confetti cannon at Barack Obama’s 2004 victory celebration when he won his Senate seat. Her family will be there, and get a chance to meet Obama. “I think that’ll be a fun little moment,” she said. She also plans to visit the White House the day before the dinner and, with her father and stepmother, visit Arlington Cemetery, where her grandparents are buried.
She has not been to the dinner before, but counts that year that Stephen Colbert entertained, 2006, as “the coolest thing I have ever seen done.” Colbert, in character, skewered President George W. Bush, who was sitting right next to him. “I loved that, and thought it was so powerful and just incredible,” she said. It also created some controversy — and then next year the WHCA selected a much less biting figure, Rich Little.
It remains to be seen how well Strong does in terms of roasting both sides of the aisle among Washington's political and journalistic elite at Saturday night's nerd prom, but it's probably safe to assume President Obama won't be seared in Strong's monologue.