Arts Desk

The Seven Worst Jokes Told at Commedia Dell Media

It should probably not surprise you that the winner of last night's Commedia Dell Media—a benefit for literacy nonprofits featuring stand-up comedy from professional journalists—was the guy who did a Bill Clinton impression. For the most part, the comedians that earned the most laughs played to their crowd of national political reporters and other Beltway types. In the end, though, the jokes told on Riot Act Comedy Theater's stage were surprisingly strong, although I would've handed the top prize to WAMU's Elahe Izadi, who had some great riffs on her Iranian-immigrant parents, community reporting, and, um, testicles. Judging by the applause at the end, she was the crowd's favorite, too. The judges disagreed: Comedian Dennis Regan, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, and Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham chose National Journal's Matt Cooper as D.C.'s funniest journo. I'll forgive them, if only because Graham had the funniest line of the night. Of one comedian's profanity, he said: "It kind of reminds me of the office."

Unfortunately, journalist-comics have a tendency to get a bit too, well, journalistic. Here are the seven worst jokes uttered at Commedia Dell Media

7. Matt Cooper, Editor, National Journal Daily

A federal judge said that the sex tape recorded between John Edwards and his mistress Rielle Hunter could go into her possession—so she is now the owner of that sex tape. So that's a little coda to one of the stranger episodes in American life. I've always wondered: As you know, John Edwards not only had an affair but he convinced one of his top aides to say that he had gotten this woman pregnant and then to have this woman, Rielle Hunter, come live with the aide, and the aide's wife, and the aide's kids. He convinced him to do that. Can you imagine being there for that conversation? "I need you to do me a solid. I'm going to remember you for this, this is a huge thing. I think when she gets there your wife's not going to mind that much at all." But it worked. The aide took her in and moved off to California with the wife and the family. And somewhere you've got to figure, Bill Clinton is thinking, "Man, I would never even try that."

6. Benjamin R. Freed, Associate Editor, DCist (and WCP contributor)

Congresswoman [Norton], as long as I can remember, I've only been here for three years, you've really been sticking it to the issue of getting D.C. a vote. I know you must really feel good to be here tonight and have a vote that counts for something.

5. Elahe Izadi, DCentric blogger, WAMU

Honestly, Delegate Norton, I have a lot of respect for you. Every time you go to your car, you're reminded, I don't get a vote in Congress. You were just trying to get some milk, now you're depressed.

4. Lisa Bonos, Assistant Editor, Washington Post Outlook

The other reason D.C. is a weird place to date is all the wonky pick up lines you get. Where else would you be where a guy would ask you, "Hey baby, what's your five-year plan? Career advancement is so sexy."

3. Alan Bjerga, Agriculture Reporter, Bloomberg News

So why did the two melons have a church wedding? Because they can't elope.

2. P.J. Tobia, Foreign Affairs Reporter/Producer, PBS NewsHour

My niece says to me, "Uncle PJ, what's freelancing?"

"Well, honey, freelancing is when you don't really have a job, but you sell stories to a lot of different people who have jobs."

"Uncle PJ, that sounds a lot like unemployed."

1. Erin McPike, National Political Reporter, RealClearPolitics

Following a riff about having brilliant ideas for ledes in the shower...

I once got a parking ticket for 100 bucks, and I appealed the parking ticket because I said, "I am a big national reporter, and if you don't let me out of this stupid ticket, I am gonna end the D.C. government. I am going to take my complaints right to The Washington Post, and go to the op-ed pages and say what a horrible mockery of a government the D.C. government is. And let me just tell you: I got out of that parking ticket! It was great. So when I was in the shower after I got out of this ticket I thought, "This is a great idea. I should appeal every parking ticket. I should drive wherever I want to go and park anywhere. It's so much cheaper than paying for valet if I just get a parking ticket. Nine times out 10, if I appeal that parking ticket, it's gonna work." So I then started getting lots of parking tickets, and it, you know. was going great, so it became a game to me. I was starting to park in front of fire hydrants, I started to park in front of hotel entrances, you name it, Metro bus stops. But in the end of every single letter I put at the bottom, "I'm a a big national reporter. I'm going to write about you." So I was always getting these tickets, I never ended up writing about the D.C. government, and suddenly...it stopped working. And I wasn't getting out of these tickets. They blacklisted me. But let me just say that for a while this worked. And I want each and every one of you to start appealing your parking tickets because it was my idea in the shower. It was good for the beginning. But let's also talk about Comcast...

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