Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Daniel Day-Lewis as President Obama

Barack plays DDL playing Barack in a mildly mirthsome video for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

Wed, May 1, 2013, 17:22


You will all be pleased to hear that I have finally returned from New York City where I was attending press events for the release of a major film set in (or, more often, next door to) that great metropolis. I am now, as is my wont, going to beat on, a boat against the current, ceaselessly into the past. My father did offer me advice to that effect. And so on.

YouTube Preview Image

On a point of principle, I refused to go to Brooklyn and report back about the latest news on stupid hats, faux-folk bands featuring zithers and astounding developments in facial hair. I can, however, recommend a new dedicated oatmeal cafe in the part of the city that used to be fashionable before other boroughs began making their pitch. It is called Oatmeals and it is situated on West Third Street, right next door to Bleeker Bob’s record shop, which seems cheeringly unchained since Ye Olde Days of No Wave. Buy a “record” there and then have some porridge next time you are in now-passé Greenwich Village.

Anyway, for the first day I was there, you couldn’t escape from the White House Correspondents’ dinner on the telly. This is the event that forces politicians to laugh courageously while some media wiseacre delivers surprisingly sharp jokes about their foibles and defects. This year it was Conan O’Brien and he did a pretty decent job. I couldn’t help but think of Peter Cook’s reaction when he spotted Harold Macmillan at a performance in the Fortune Theatre. “When I’ve got a spare evening there’s nothing I like better than to wander over to a theatre and sit there listening to a group of sappy, urgent, vibrant young satirists, with a stupid great grin spread all over my silly old face,” Cook said in his plummy impersonation of the Prime Minister.

To prove he is a decent sport, the President recorded a video in which he played Daniel Day-Lewis playing Barack Obama. It’s not bad. You certainly couldn’t imagine Richard Nixon doing this. Ronald Reagan would, however, probably have carried it off quite well. Enjoy. Back to the grindstone…