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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

White House Correspondents' Dinner

Aired May 3, 2014 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: A final thought from you, Ms. Gold, before we go?

HADAS GOLD, POLITICO REPORTER: I'm just really excited to see the great speeches we have tonight. I'm really interested to see actually how much Obama skewers himself. He tends to make superficial jokes about himself. He doesn't really go as deep as like George W. Bush was known for skewering himself, how people thought he was dumb or something, so he played along with it. I really hope Obama goes for himself really deeply this year.

LEMON: All right, guys, thank you, everyone. I appreciate you. I'm Don Lemon, our special coverage from the White House Correspondents' Dinner continues.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

ROBIN LEACH, TV PERSONALITY (voice-over): Tonight, the stars are out in Washington, D.C.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a Hollywood crowd.

LEACH (voice-over): It's the most glamorous event of the year in the nation's Capitol.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's so fun to see people from different areas of expertise, all coming together.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is my fourth time here and I love it every time.

LEACH (voice-over): We're giving you an all-access pass to the hottest ticket in town. Join A-list celebrities as they mingle with America's power players over dinner, cocktails and, of course, comedy.

Headliner Joel McHale knows he'll be playing to a tough crowd.

JOEL MCHALE, COMEDIAN: There are so many powerful people, so many rich people. They've made enough money and have enough power to never laugh again.

LEACH (voice-over): But it will be the president who gets the last laugh. Poking fun at superstars, politicians and the reporters who cover him.

OBAMA: My job is to be president. Your job is to keep me humble. Frankly, I think I'm doing my job better.

(LAUGHTER)

LEACH (voice-over): Now, the red carpet is out for a party sure to dazzle even the rich and famous. I should know. I'm Robin Leach and this is CNN's coverage of the 100th annual White House Correspondents' Dinner.

Now, here's Don Lemon.

LEMON: Welcome, everyone. Well, you can say 2,700 people in this room are lucky tonight, but I don't think they're as lucky as having Robin Leach give you a shout-out.

Good evening everyone and welcome to our special coverage of the White House Correspondents' Dinner and the one night in Washington when everyone takes a break from their daily routine and gets along with each other.

This is Brett Larson, he's our tech expert. There's a lot of selfies and tweeting from the room going on. So Brett is going to help me get through this.

And the country, because the country has such a low opinion of the jobs that both the president and the Congress are doing, these politicians need to focus on improving their own credibility, so they do what any normal person would do, they invite a bunch of Hollywood celebrities to the party.

They even rolled out the red carpet, so the actors and the actresses didn't have to bring their own. And lent CNN a little space on it, so that we could fawn along with the rest of you. And that's where we find our entertainment correspondent, Nischelle Turner, and our national correspondent, Suzanne Malveaux. They're both there, both my angels.

Good evening, ladies, you're looking great.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Don.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Don, how you doing?

LEMON: I'm doing well, Suzanne so -- and Nischelle. So who do you guys -- tell us about the big moments that you've seen so far.

MALVEAUX: You know, it's interesting Don, because I think I was (INAUDIBLE) so far. And this is like the first time that we've actually done the red carpet together. It's really exciting. Think about this. This is the one night that it is acceptable to ogle back and forth. You can actually have a little bit of fun, a little bit of lightness with all of this.

And I remember, Nischelle, back in the time that Janet Reno, we were fighting over having her at our table. That was considered the hot guest and things have changed. It's very, very different than it was before. TURNER: I think I was reading, when Hollywood started to enter the fray, it was Fawn Hall (ph) --

(CROSSTALK)

TURNER: -- and that's kind of when we started seeing the change in Hollywood entering in to the party.

MALVEAUX: I think it was Barbra Streisand, actually, Don, who made it popular for celebrities to come to this thing, because it clearly is kind of like a little bit of a nerd thing that people get dressed up, they enjoy kind of partying and rubbing elbows, if you will.

It's been really kind of a fun evening. But also, Don, there are a lot of people who I've talked to who really have messages. They've got policy that they are trying to push forward in the administration.

And it's been a weekend of brunches and parties and meetings to make sure that the administration is kind of listening to the celebrity power that you know all too well.

TURNER: Exactly. And talking to Tim Daly (ph) and Jeffrey Ham Warren (ph) and Wendy McClendon (ph), probably tonight, they're members of the Creative Coalition and they've been spending the last two days really lobbying to bring the arts back to schools.

And so, this was kind of their opportunity, along with, you know, having a little bit of fun, to really get their message across and really get in people's ear and get in people's faces and really have the opportunity to do that.

So you're right. Some people do come here with a message. Some people just come to have a little fun.

MALVEAUX: And there's been a lot of that as well. People have been talking about this.

But, Don, I want you to know, too, there are so many different shows that make it popular, Washington popular now, "Scandal," "Homeland," "Veep," I had a chance to talk to a number of those actors who are here in town about their specific causes, why it is that they're here, why this is important to them.

So I want you to listen to just a couple of the interviews we did ahead of the dinner.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR, NBA LEGEND: I think the owners will do the right thing. They understand how important this is that this be handled the right way. And I think they'll do the right thing.

CYNTHIA NIXON, ACTRESS: I certainly think that the Obama administration has done so many important things. Repealing DOMA was massive, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," but, really, nothing was more important -- everything's important, but nothing was more important than the president himself coming out and saying that he and Michelle support marriage equality and that they think it's a just cause. I think that spoke volumes.

BELLAMY YOUNG, ACTRESS: It's so the same in so many ways and so different in so many ways. I haven't been inside yet, so I don't know what's in there, but this weekend has had the same amount of glamour.

But also, an inspiring amount of substance, that made me really feel like you're meeting the people that can shift the world. And in terms of Hollywood, people shift the world, but in a much different way, in the language of emotions and ideals and hopes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TURNER: You know, it's interesting, because you do walk the line about what causes people are here for and if they're just having a good time. There are still a lot of heavy issues going on in Washington. I mean, I talked to Senator McCain about Ukraine tonight. And I also talked to Barbara Walters.

I caught up with her, because she last night got the intel here that everybody's been wanting, Don. We've been talking about this a little bit. She interviewed V. Stiviano, the woman in the center of the Donald Sterling racial remark scandal, the woman who taped the conversation. Barbara Walters interviewed her last night.

So I caught up with Barbara to talk to her about that interview, how did she get it and what she thought about it. Let's take a little bit of a listen to that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TURNER: I've got to ask you the burning question. Your interview with V. Stiviano, number one, how did you get it? Because everybody's been wanting that.

BARBARA WALTERS, ABC HOST: I think she wanted to do it. I think she wanted to be heard. I think she feels there have been a lot of bad things said about her and this was her chance to show that she was intelligent, that she wasn't a little bunny, which is what she calls herself.

TURNER: A silly rabbit.

WALTERS: A silly rabbit.

TURNER: Yes, I heard you say, "A what?" when she said that. It did seem like she was a little careful with what she was saying.

Did you get that feeling?

WALTERS: I think that she was careful, but I think it was very important for her to have people know her. I mean, she was wearing the visor so that people wouldn't really see her. Now she felt she wanted to speak out. She also said that she thought that Sterling should apologize. He didn't while I was there. (END VIDEO CLIP)

TURNER: That was a really fascinating interview, it's the interview that everybody's been wanting to get.

MALVEAUX: Have been watching, absolutely.

TURNER: So, you know, I'm sure that's going to be a topic of conversation in there. But I have to tell you I'm a little upset with Suzanne Malveaux, because she stole will.i.am from me at the red carpet tonight.

MALVEAUX: Oh, no!

TURNER: Yes, you did.

MALVEAUX: Oh, no!

TURNER: She sold me out. She sold me out.

LEMON: I saw --

MALVEAUX: We both want Lupita. That's what we're really (INAUDIBLE) --

(CROSSTALK)

MALVEAUX: That is the interview we really want is Lupita. We have not seen her yet. So we'll see if we can get her later tonight.

LEMON: I saw will.i.am zip right by Nischelle, but he stopped to talk to Suzanne. But I think I saw -- did we see -- Nischelle, did you see Lupita, but she didn't talk, she just kind of scrambled up the stairs?

(CROSSTALK)

TURNER: Yes, she came and she took photos and then she went right in, which is what a lot of celebrities do. Sometimes, if they don't want to talk.

I would love to talk to her, though, because we haven't talked to her since Oscar night. No one's really talked to her about what's been going on, you know, since she won the Oscar. So she is the get here tonight.

MALVEAUX: Yes. She is the get. We'll see who gets her, Don.

LEMON: All right, stand by, angels!

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: The White House Correspondents' Dinner, it is the president's chance to get even and no one is safe. Here's CNN's senior political correspondent, Brianna Keilar.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the White House Correspondents' Dinner, everyone is fair game, even the president's own cabinet.

OBAMA: Four years later, she won't stop drunk texting me from Cartagena.

KEILAR (voice-over): Political foes better watch out. Last year, President Obama took this jab at his critics, with this swipe at Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell.

OBAMA: Some folks still don't think I spend enough time with Congress. Why don't you get a drink with Mitch McConnell, they ask. Really?

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: Why don't you get a drink with Mitch McConnell!

KEILAR (voice-over): Even pop stars make good targets.

OBAMA: The Jonas Brothers are here.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: They're out there somewhere. Sasha and Malia are huge fans.

But, boys, don't get any ideas. I have two words for you -- predator drones.

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: You will never see it coming.

You think I'm joking.

(LAUGHTER)

KEILAR (voice-over): But just how far can a president go? Jon Favreau is President Obama's former chief speechwriter.

JON FAVREAU, FORMER OBAMA SPEECHWRITER: These are some of the hardest speeches to do, because the really funny jokes, you can't use and then there's a whole bunch of jokes that just sound really cheesy, right? Because they're like typical politician jokes. So we're trying to get somewhere in between with the jokes, with what you write.

KEILAR (voice-over): It's generally safe for a president to take aim at himself.

OBAMA: The State of Hawaii released my official, long-form birth certificate. Tonight, for the first time, I am releasing my official birth video.

(MUSIC PLAYING) FAVREAU: We came up with that. It had been right around the controversy over the birth certificate when it was flown in and Trump was making all those crazy accusations.

KEILAR (voice-over): In preparation for the dinner, there's an all- call for jokes at the White House.

FAVREAU: The speechwriters at the White House reach out to the funniest people that we know outside the White House and we ask everyone for jokes and we try to come up with jokes ourselves.

Usually, we just sit in the Oval with him and he reads the jokes out loud. And as he's doing that, he makes edits, he throws in some lines himself, comes up with some jokes on his own.

KEILAR (voice-over): In an election year, this podium can be a political weapon.

OBAMA: It's great to be here this evening, in the vast, magnificent Hilton ballroom. Or what Mitt Romney would call a little fixer-upper.

KEILAR (voice-over): World events often intersect with the president's jokes. Take this one in 2011.

OBAMA: Tim Pawlenty, he seems all-American. But if you heard his real middle name. Tim Hosni Pawlenty. What a shame.

KEILAR (voice-over): He was initially going to say Tim Osama Pawlenty, but right before the dinner, he changed his mind.

FAVREAU: We walk in and go over the jokes with the president and he looks at it all and says, you know, these are great jokes, I like them all, but there's one punch line that I would change. I think the line's been played out and we don't need to talk about him.

KEILAR (voice-over): Played out? Not exactly, he was about to become big news.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Bin laden is dead. The United States has the body.

FAVREAU: I had no idea why until the next day when I find out that the general that the president was talking to was, he was giving the orders to give the go-ahead on the operation to pursue Osama bin Laden.

KEILAR (voice-over): Brianna Keilar, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: And make sure you stick around, Brianna Keilar gets something special tonight. You'll see it here on CNN.

Coming up, President Obama's live speech at the 2014 White House Correspondents' Dinner. And for the reporters who get roasted by the president, the experience can have really a lasting impression. Just ask our very own Wolf Blitzer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: I've got a lot of nice memories going back many years, involving the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner, but I guess what sticks out most is when I was CNN's senior White House correspondent and I would go every year to those dinners and the then President of the United States, Bill Clinton, he often had a lot of fun at my expense.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 8:35, breaking news, Wolf Blitzer breathlessly does a live feed from the front lawn of the Hilton to announce CNN has learned the dessert will be mocha puffs and chocolate sauce.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, the humor here always has a bit of a mean kind of --

LEMON: Thank you so much for watching. We are moments away from a dinner officially being served to nearly 3,000 people who are in that room in Washington and the president, of course, has a tough job on his hands tonight. This is a showcase for the president. A showoff of a side that we rarely see of him.

And over the years, the president has had, you know, a lot of speechwriters and a lot of them haven't been disappointed at him. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I am not giving up. In fact, I'm taking my charm offensive on the road. A Texas barbecue with Ted Cruz. Kentucky bluegrass concert with Rand Paul. And a book burning with Michele Bachmann.

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: I'm also hard at work on plans for the Obama Library and some have suggested that we put it in my birthplace, but I would rather keep it in the United States.

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: Some folks still don't think I spend enough time with Congress. Why don't you get a drink with Mitch McConnell, they ask. Really?

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: Why don't you get a drink with Mitch McConnell?

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: Now, this year, we gather in the midst of a heated election season. And Axelrod tells me I should never miss a chance to reintroduce myself to the American people. So tonight, this is how I would like to begin. My name is Barack Obama, my mother was born in Kansas, my father was born in Kenya and I was born, of course, in Hawaii.

Four years ago, I was a Washington outsider. Four years later, I'm at this dinner. Four years ago, I looked like this. Today, I look like this. And four years from now, I will look like this.

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: That's not even funny.

Good evening. You know, Ed's right. I work a lot. And so, I wasn't sure that I should actually come tonight. Biden talked me into it. He leaned over and he said, "Mr. President, this is no ordinary dinner. This is a big (INAUDIBLE) meal.

All this change hasn't been easy. Change never is. So I've cut the tension by bringing a new friend to the White House. He's warm, he's cuddly, loyal, enthusiastic. You just have to keep him on a tight leash. Every once in a while he goes charging off in the wrong direction and gets himself into trouble. But enough about Joe Biden.

In the next hundred days, our bipartisan outreach will be so successful that even John Boehner will consider becoming a Democrat. After all, we have a lot in common. He is a person of color, although not a color that appears in the natural world.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: It's funny, I remember all of these. The dinner is about to get underway.

So do you think the president is nervous?

What about the headliner, Joel McHale? Talk about a tough crowd. Well, he does. He's going to talk about a tough crowd to our Jake Tapper, next.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

LEMON: All right. Welcome back, everyone. We're going to continue on with our group here in New York in just a little bit.

But joining me now from Washington is CNN political analyst John Avlon and "CROSSFIRE" cohost, S.E. Cupp. I tweeted out the other night, S.E., "CROSSFIRE" is back.

S.E. CUPP, CNN HOST: Finally!

LEMON: Finally. There's a lot of crossfire I'm sure going on at the Hilton in Washington tonight.

JOHN AVLON, CNN HOST: Oh, yes.

CUPP: Actually, tonight, we've decided to put politics aside, laugh at our own expense, rib each other and just have a good night. I'm actually sitting at a table with my fellow "CROSSFIRE" hosts, and we've decided to all get along tonight.

AVLON: See? And that's what this is all about. Finally, there's so much humor in politics, but you wouldn't know it, because people don't laugh enough. So it's a good night for that.

CUPP: And a lot of times, it's unintentional humor. So tonight we get to actually be funny on purpose.

LEMON: Exactly.

So will you guys, we have been sort of just gawking at the folks on the red carpet. We're like, oh, my gosh, listen, I am so bad with names, you probably can't see this, they had to make like faces for me, because I'm bad with celebrity names.

I'm like, there's that guy from that movie, you remember, he played that guy in that thing.

AVLON: And Don, you just summed up the nature of nerd prom. This is Hollywood for ugly people. And so if you can't name them all off the top, it's totally reasonable.

CUPP: Yes, that guy from that movie was all over the place tonight. He was everywhere. Yes, I saw him like five times.

LEMON: So was that lady who played that -- remember, she played that character, the one, she got drunk and then -- you know what I'm talking about. I saw her, too, at the thing.

CUPP: Yes, she's a lot of fun, yes.

LEMON: That's the funny thing. I think that, you know, a lot of people say, Hollywood, you know, has a big influence on Washington, D.C. But we know more about the secretary of state in this business -- especially you guys, politicos, than you know about the latest action adventure hero, right, S.E.?

CUPP: Definitely true in my case. Yes. I'm really not sure what's going on at the movies, but it's funny, because Hollywood and politics have this weird symbiotic relationship and this mutual admiration club.

I ran into Jeff Goldblum, who is a huge news fanatic; he knew everyone and apparently watches news all day. And he was just thrilled to be here and meeting people like us, which is weird.

AVLON: Weird? You see that a lot. You get a lot of people in Hollywood who are political nerds and that's what I actually call the cross-section Pollywood. And it's interesting, though, because we've learned in recent years, too, that when Hollywood stars decide to genuinely devote themselves to a specific cause, it can really amplify public attention.

And that can be actually a very powerful thing. And when senators try to hold hearings, no one pays attention. But if George Clooney testifies about South Sudan, people pay attention. There's actually a constructive aspect to that cross-pollination.

LEMON: OK, S.E., you are a half an inch away from a wardrobe malfunction.

CUPP: You know what, I've got it covered. This is all, it's taped down, it's working, trust me. I'm so sewn into this thing.

LEMON: Was that Republican-approved, that outfit? I'm not sure.

CUPP: I don't check with anyone, obviously!

AVLON: I think some folks at the Family Research Council could be offended, but S.E.'s that kind of bold, that nobody cares. She just blows right through that.

CUPP: You know what? As long as my mom's OK, my mom and dad are OK, I think it's all right.

LEMON: So, listen, I want to tell you, your fellow co-hosts on "CROSSFIRE" tweeted and it says, I wonder if I'm the only person showing up to #nerdprom in back of an uberX. He's in an uberX. He goes, limo, question mark, nah, son, save dat $skrilla (ph).

CUPP: Can I tell you this is Van's first White House Correspondents' Dinner.

AVLON: It's Van's first nerd prom?

CUPP: He's so excited. He's like a kid in a candy store. He was excited to see Lupita Nyong'o. He was excited to see Francois Hollande. Apparently Van's a big fan.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: (INAUDIBLE) the French president --

CUPP: It's adorable. I've been walking Van around and he's just -- his head cannot move fast enough. He's having the time of his life. It's adorable.

LEMON: All right, guys. Thank you.

AVLON: It's a good time. Take care.

LEMON: See you guys. Have fun in the room.

CUPP: Wish you were here!

LEMON: All right. Love you. Mean it!

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: Bye.

By the way, she was talking about Lupita.

You've already gotten a taste of the celebs who have flocked to this event. You never know who is going to show up. A rundown of Hollywood heavyweights past and present, that is next. Look at that beautiful room, all those folks in there.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

LEACH: You're watching CNN's live coverage of the 100th annual White House Correspondents' Dinner. Now, here's Don Lemon.

LEMON: That's right, Robin Leach just said my name. Welcome back to our continuing coverage of the White House Correspondents' Dinner. It's happening right now in Washington. Chuck Schumer in the middle of a toast. I hope how it's not inappropriate. You know how those wedding toasts can go, can be completely inappropriate.

Anyway, the president's speech coming up in just a little bit. We just saw the president. He is in the room. There is the president from "Scandal," Goldwyn, Tony Goldwyn, part of the Goldwyn, you know --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wait, I got this --

LEMON: -- monarchy --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- who that is.

LEMON: He plays President Fitz, Fitzgerald Grant.

You got that?

Those holding the hottest tickets of the year are right there in the room. You can see -- and there's Madeleine Albright in the room as well.

We just saw our very own Blitz Wolfzer, I mean, Wolf Blitzer, who is there in the room as well. The rest of us, well, we get to cover it at least and you get to watch it on television, which is probably the best seat in the house. So you get to make your own meal, you get to sit here on CNN and you get to watch all of us. That lady on the right, I'm not sure if you recognize her. I think that is -- no, I'm kidding, that is the first lady of the United States. That is Michelle Obama and then Joel McHale sitting to her left. And she is saying, if you make fun of me --

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: She will never --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, seriously, I have Secret Service, don't mess with me.

You think I'm joking, that's quaint.

LEMON: And so, there's Jay Carney.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who's that very stern-looking woman next to him?

LEMON: I don't know. But I haven't introduced you yet, so don't speak.

Now I'm back with my panel, joining me with my panel here in New York is actor and writer, Michael Torpey is sitting on the end. You've seen TimeWarner commercials, right, cable?

MICHAEL TORPEY, ACTOR AND WRITER: Yes, yes, yes. I'll sell anything.

LEMON: Dad, that's the worst decision you've ever made!

And I just take it, it hits me in my gut, in my heart.

LEMON: All right. So there's actor and writer, Michael Torpey and then comedian Chuck Nice, we see you everywhere. What's your latest thing? You've got a gig?

CHUCK NICE, COMEDIAN: I've got a gig all the time. Well, actually, tonight, I'm live on stage at 9 o'clock in about 25 minutes, 25 minutes. So I may leave and come back.

LEMON: And our technology analyst, Brett Larson, is here to join me.

Hey, I just got -- I'm glad you guys, everyone at home is enjoying our coverage. Someone said, hey, he said, I'm really enjoying CNN's coverage of the dinner tonight. Don Lemon is weirdly dorky and hilarious.

I've heard the weirdly dorky part, but not the hilarious part.

How you doing? We doing art?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's really entertaining.

LEMON: The room is beautiful, the folks are beautiful. We're here to critique.

What do you make so far? NICE: Here's the thing, I, first of all, just like S.E. Cupp, I, too, am -- would be very excited to meet Lupita, and because I hear that she is very talented.

LEMON: People say her name wrong a lot.

NICE: Lupita Nyong'o, or whatever.

LEMON: Are you nervous for Joel?

NICE: I am a little nervous for Joel because this is not a -- you know, he's very dry, he's very snarky and he's very sarcastic. And from what I understand about people in Washington, they don't really take well to that. It's something about let go my ego. But they are not the kind of people that go for that. But, you know, I hope -- I'm pulling for him because he's a great guy.

LEMON: As a writer, are you sitting there, Michael, going, the writers are like, oh, my gosh, if the president doesn't kill, it's going to be my fault?

TORPEY: Yes. Absolutely, a lot of pressure on you. The jokes at an event like this, they get three possible reactions. If you get a laugh, everyone agrees with you; if you get a groan, then they agree with you but they're a little embarrassed.

LEMON: Can you -- OK. Hold on, meet me on camera three, that's your camera right there. Camera three.

TORPEY: What's up, camera three?

LEMON: You're an "Onion" news anchor, you're with "The Onion," so cover this for me.

TORPEY: Three ways this can go, really two big ones for Joel McHale here. He can do well or he can not do well. And he's definitely going to want to do well. Because there are people in this room that can make you disappear.

And it's hard to have a career in Hollywood once you no longer exist.

Yes, I would just say, I would just say, I'd say watch yourself with the jokes, too many jokes for the guy who controls the drones, probably not --

LEMON: Wait a minute, it's hard to have a career when you no longer exist. They should have gotten you to play Captain Obvious in the thing.

Thanks, Captain Obvious. I can't have a career, because I'm not here anymore.

TORPEY: I need to spell these things out clearly.

LEMON: You can't. Good.

I'm sorry, you were saying a drone attack?

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: That's not funny?

NICE: What, drone attacks?

LEMON: The Secret Service will come yank you off our set.

NICE: Let me tell you something, nothing would make my career than the Secret Service coming to pluck me up right now.

Come get me!

LEMON: But you can't have a career if you're no longer here.

NICE: I need you!

LEMON: This is a huge night for selfies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes.

LEMON: Excuse me. Well, we're talking about --

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: -- that's later.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

LEMON: Pictures. We're talking about photos.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Huge night for selfies. Not the Anthony Weiner kind. Not talking about that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ba-dum-bum.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE), but that would be kind of a funny selfie to take at the dinner. Like, it's corned beef and cabbage.

LEMON: Look what's on the menu.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey!

NICE: I just wonder if people get the stars walk in and they are just like, oh, my God, is that undersecretary of the interior, Mike Connor! Oh, my God! Are they doing that?

LEMON: I think one of them said, I mean, Nischelle Turner interviewed someone and they said, yes, I was so excited to see -- and I had no idea who they were and I'm in the news business.

TORPEY: Well, that person was lying. I mean, that's a lie. No one is that excited to meet those politicians. They're the famous people. They're the Hollywood people. They're the ones that peoples are jacked up to see. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, Jeff Goldblum's excited, because he needs another plot for a movie. He's got to get in there and shake hands with people and be like, what is it that you do?

(CROSSTALK)

NICE: By the way, Jeff Goldblum, also weirdly dorky and hilarious. So it's a good thing to be that.

LEMON: What's happening right now? Someone's talking to the president, he's -- what do you think he's doing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's like, so I got this parking ticket. You'll never believe. It's the craziest thing. So I got this parking ticket and the guy was like, you've got to pay, it's a hundred bucks and he's like, I'm going to meet the president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's like, ooh, soup, sorry.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll pick this up later.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And does Obama not right now look incredibly bored? I'm serious. I'm not even joking. Does he not look like -- OK, there he is, he's like --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Looking really serious. But remember the year when they killed Osama bin Laden, he was -- so I'm wondering --

(CROSSTALK)

RICE: Can we just say truly gangsta? All right? And I mean like Michael Corleone style. You were standing there telling jokes while you were taking out the world's number one terrorist at the same time. I think I love Obama for that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And as we just found, he changed the speech, because he didn't want to make a joke about it.

LEMON: Yes, he was supposed to tell someone's name was Hussein, but he said it was Hosni instead. There's Ted Cruz, with the guy from -- that's "Duck Dynasty" guy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a just a hobo. He'll be removed. They'll have him out of there quickly.

LEMON: Obviously, he didn't learn how to tie his bow tie in the (INAUDIBLE) break there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's our Michaela Pereira though and she just popped up in a selfie.

LEMON: Did she? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a multi-part CNN selfie. I like when those happens.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So many selfies. I mean, selfies, the way that all of our parents got on Facebook and killed it, I mean, people are just killing selfies. They are going to -- they are gone.

LEMON: It is weird when your mom likes the half-naked picture of you like drunk at a party, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, the nerd prom is killing selfies right now. It is over.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Plus, it's not that cool anymore, like, when nerd prom's doing it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is -- I won't be caught dead in a selfie from now on. It's over.

LEMON: All right. So, some of you will be here when we get back. Some won't.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: This was a test.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wait, I'm hearing the Secret Service guys --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll see who gets voted off the island, right after this break.

So and this is just President Obama who, you know, tried his hand at comedy -- excuse me, my mouth won't work right now. Past presidents have had us in stitches, too.

I'm going to get voted off the island.

First, CNN's Candy Crowley shares her favorite moment from the dinner.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN HOST: So in 1986, I was on the board of the White House Correspondents' Association, which this year included President Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan.

My guest was my Midwestern through-and-through youngest brother. I introduced him to President Reagan and in that instant, he sort of -- he looked at Reagan, he talked to him and then he looked at me and I thought, oh, my gosh, I have done something that my brother thinks is cool.

And what we have is my brother looking very dapper in a tuxedo, which may be the last time he was in a tuxedo, and the back of Ronald Reagan's head. He framed it anyway, the president signed it anyway. So in the end, I was kind of like half cool.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Welcome back, everyone. There you are. We're taking you inside the room at the Washington Hilton. This is the White House Correspondents' Dinner and we will be covering it, obviously, until it's over, carrying the president's speech live and also Joel McHale's speech as well.

Look at those famous faces in the room. That is the fake president right there in the corner. You see him? You see Fitz?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was also in --

LEMON: And that's the cast of "Scandal," they have a table there.

And that is the lovely room inside Washington, 2,700 guests. Almost 3,000 guests starting to eat right now.

And then, of course, the speeches. So that's what I'm saying, who are these people? No, I know.

All right. The speech given by the president each year at the White House Correspondents' Dinner gives the commander in chief and even some first ladies the rare chance to poke fun at the press who cover them. Here's a look at the best presidential punch lines.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: Speaking of real-life drama, I'm so glad that Senator McCain is back tonight. I welcome him especially.

(APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: As you all know, as you all know, he just made a difficult journey back to a place where he endured unspeakable abuse at the hands of his oppressors, the Senate Republican caucus.

(LAUGHTER)

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Members of the White House Correspondents' Association, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, here I am.

(LAUGHTER)

GEORGE BUSH: Here I am at another one of these dang press dinners. Could be home asleep, little Bernie curled up at my feet. But, no, I got to pretend I like being here.

As you know, I always look forward to these dinners. It's just a bunch of media types, Hollywood liberals, Democrats like Joe Biden.

How come I can't have dinner with the 36 percent of the people who like me?

(LAUGHTER)

GEORGE BUSH: The only thing missing is Hillary Clinton sitting on the front row, rolling her eyes.

(LAUGHTER)

GEORGE BUSH: Senator, I think you'll appreciate this and you can use it if you want to.

See, there was this city slicker who was driving around lost and he came across this old cowboy. And so the city slicker asked the old guy how to get to the nearest town --

LAURA BUSH: Not that old joke. Not again.

(APPLAUSE)

LAURA BUSH: Ladies and gentlemen, I've been attending these dinners for years and just quietly sitting there. Well, I've got a few things I want to say for a change.

(APPLAUSE)

LAURA BUSH: One night, after George went to bed, Lynne Cheney, Condi Rice, Karen Hughes and I went to Chippendales. I wouldn't even mention it, except Ruth Ginsburg and Sandra Day O'Connor saw us there. I won't tell you what happened, but Lynne's Secret Service code name is now Dollar Bill.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Hey, that is -- she was really good. She was funnier than he was. By the way, my panel is here with me and they're helping me do this. We have an actor and a tech expert.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right, that's what you need to cover --

LEMON: So many people in attendance tonight and some of you at home are sharing your thoughts on social media. That's why we have our Brett Larson here. We have a team of producers watching Twitter and Facebook and other sites for the very latest and we plan on sharing those moments with you.

So with me again, actor Michael Torpey; CNN's own tech expert analyst, Brett Larson.

So what are you seeing?

BRETT LARSON, CNN TECH ANALYST: I'm seeing all kinds of fun stuff. I've got -- we've got a lot of great pictures and I've got one here on my lap -- do you want me to just hold it?

No, I'm kidding --

LEMON: Who is it?

LARSON: We've got our own Michaela Pereira is there. She's going to be there tonight. She's in the audience. We've got some fun photos of some celebrities that I don't recognize, which is why I have my celebrity flash cards here.

(CROSSTALK)

LARSON: Looks like the guy who's in that show --

LEMON: Oh, look Michael Torpey's on here.

LARSON: Yes. But we've got a lot of fun stuff.

Here's what I love about social media around events like this is, it's, you know, we're there with our cameras; we've got the pool feed camera and everything. And then people get stuff like --

LEMON: There's Suzanne Malveaux.

LARSON: Our own Suzanne Malveaux and she's talking to --

LEMON: Airplanes --

(CROSSTALK)

LARSON: I just saw him this morning be interviewed, fantastic. And you know, we've got to put a caption on that, right? I mean --

LEMON: Have you ever seen the inside of a cockpit?

(LAUGHTER)

LARSON: What can you tell us about re-making airplane movies?

Here's our guy. We were just talking to his cohort. And he's with --

LEMON: And you can't see -- oh, that's Ambassador Rice. Ambassador Rice.

LARSON: (INAUDIBLE) America every day. So we've got some nice things being said.

This one, I love.

LEMON: Mindy Cahill.

LARSON: Recognize her from -- she's got her own show. She's also on "The Office," took a selfie with --

LEMON: And this is Elise Labott from CNN.

LARSON: Right. Good stuff. Mindy on the show would have done.

LEMON: Mindy's looking amazing.

LARSON: She looks great. How come --

LEMON: -- that guy on the right, that gentleman on the right of your screen there is the President of the United States.

LARSON: I know who that one.

LEMON: He's not the one --

LARSON: He's not the one from "Saturday Night Live?"

LEMON: No, he's not the one from "Scandal." He's the real one.

LARSON: Who's in the audience.

LEMON: Can you imagine if you have to put -- like what do you say, what do you sit next to the president and say like?

TORPEY: Well, look, the game changed with Obama, because all of a sudden, we had a legit, funny president.

You know, and now when you follow the president, there's tons of pressure on you. Bush was funny, but it was usually by accident. You know and now you have a guy who is really drilling punch lines, delivering a great speech.

LEMON: He was funny by accident.

TORPEY: Oh, my gosh!

LEMON: He said a mind is a terrible thing to waste, it's a terrible thing to lose one's mind. Speaking of that, we've lost our minds.

TORPEY: Bush may be our nation's greatest accidental comedian.

LEMON: All right.

Still ahead, CNN's Jake Tapper tracked down this year's headliner. So how is comedian Joel McHale preparing to go hard on tonight's crowd without being thrown out of the room? That's coming up, next.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

LEMON: So, this is very exciting for me. More exciting for her because one of our very own is being honored tonight. Our senior political correspondent is Brianna Keilar and she's looking amazing.

She's receiving the Aldo Beckman Memorial Award for Excellence in White House reporting. So Brianna, she joins me now from the red carpet. I'm going to read; it's going to take me a little bit here, but I want to read from the award. OK? So here's what your colleagues said about you.

"Brianna Keilar's excellent detailed and utterly approachable reporting sheds light on many of the specifics that have led to the political debacle of the Affordable Care Act. Several stories revolved around information or documents obtained exclusively by CNN.

"The material was presented with compelling clarity, vivid production values and rock-solid documentation. These stories provide a vital narrative in understanding as they unfold over time in every way, reporting, writing, presentation and production.

"These stories contribute content, a context and understanding and demonstrate both breaking news and expertise -- or enterprise, excuse me, excellence."

So, wow, congratulations. Well deserved.

What do you say to that?

KEILAR: Thank you. Oh, you know what, I'm just so excited, especially because it really does, Don, as you know, one of these events, it really takes a team to do a number of stories. We did a series of stories, six of them, on ObamaCare, that went from mid- October, when it really started to -- you really started to realize that there was a problem with the website and sort of the rollout of it.

And then we followed it over a couple of months. So I think one of the really cool things about this award and some of the effort that we did, which took a team of producers, I will tell you, is that we were following something that is so important to the Obama presidency. This is what he will really be judged by when it comes to his legacy.

And we really kind of dug in deep to it. It affects so many Americans. And it's such an honor to receive this award.

LEMON: OK, Brianna. That is lovely. It's an honor to be nominated, I get it. There's a whole team of people. We're friends. We've traveled together before, we hang out together.

How do you feel, girl?

KEILAR: It's really exciting!

LEMON: Thank you.

KEILAR: No, it is such an honor, because it reminds me, I'm so excited, my mom's at home watching on TV, my parents are at home and it is really fun at such a big event like this.

And also, I kind of think back to like, you know, high school, when I was covering sports as a high school sports reporter and, you know, you just, it's pretty amazing to kind of go, wow, what a fun night, what a great event and what a place to be honored.

So I'm really excited. And I am geeking out about it. And I really am honored about it.

LEMON: Yes. You know, listen, you and I have been at the network for about the same time and I'm sure people will say both of us have grown, but you've come a long way from those days -- remember, we used to co-anchor together and then go to cross fit afterwards. You really have come a long way.

KEILAR: Yes, because you made me do that! And I couldn't walk for a week.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: I want to bring in the ladies now, bring in my angels. And now I have three angels.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Angels!

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: I've got a blonde, a kind of blonde and a brunette.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we've got to flip this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you hear what he said, Suzanne? It was just a dig in you. I've got a blonde, a kind of blonde and a brunette.

(LAUGHTER)

MALVEAUX: Oh, my goodness. What?

TURNER: You are out of control, Don Lemon. You are out of control.

LEMON: OK. Let's back to the subject. You guys have to be happy for Brianna.

TURNER: Can I gush about her for just a second? Because we -- I've only been at the network for a short amount of time and, Brianna, definitely, we kind of bonded a little bit. We had last year together --

KEILAR: We had a fun time.

TURNER: -- we did. And I just think she is a rock star. And I'm not saying it because we both work at CNN, I think she is so, so good. She's a breath of fresh air. And I know I'm gushing, just let me gush, girl, just take it, OK?

MALVEAUX: You know what's going to happen. It's like we're all going to -- I mean, when she talks about a team, right, we're all going to stand up there and just go, way to go --

(CROSSTALK)

TURNER: And you know every time --

MALVEAUX: -- just so proud.

KEILAR: Every time you put a story on air, there are so many people who are making sure it happens.

(CROSSTALK)

KEILAR: I would have to say to Rachel Straithold (ph) and Kevin Liptak (ph) in particular, two of our producers who, I mean, there were times when I would be so busy and they would be reporting and making calls for me. You just cannot -- it's not just like one person does it. It's dozens of people.

TURNER: Can I call her out, though, real quick? Please?

Can I call Brianna out? Because last year Brianna and I did this red carpet together. And I will just tell you, she was very, like, worried about I don't want to show too much -- I'm a White House correspondent --

LEMON: Look at her now!