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Rich Little: Headlining White House Correspondents’ dinner a ‘no-win situation’


Comedian Rich Little said the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner was “probably the hardest show I’ve done in my entire career.” (Associated Press)

During his five decades in comedy, impressionist Rich Little has performed in glitzy Las Vegas casinos and backwater Canadian nightclubs, on television and in films, before intoxicated hecklers and dignified heads of state.

For sheer degree of difficulty, he said, one venue stands out.

“The White House [Correspondents’ Association] dinner is probably the hardest show I’ve done in my entire career,” said Mr. Little, 73, who headlined the event in 1985 and 2007. “Absolutely. You have to be political and take a few jabs. But you can’t be too strong. And if you don’t come on strong, they say you’re doing your Vegas act. It’s kind of a no-win situation.”

Mr. Little paused — only not to deliver a punch line.

“Every time I hear who is going to be on, I think, ‘Good luck,’ ” he said. “I hope they know what they’re getting into.”

This year’s human sacrifice is late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, who headlines the 2012 White House Correspondents’ Association dinner at the Washington Hilton on Saturday night.

About the Author
Patrick Hruby

Patrick Hruby is an award-winning journalist who holds degrees from Georgetown and Northwestern. He also contributes to and The Atlantic Online, and his work has been featured in The Best American Sports Writing. Follow him on Twitter (@patrick_hruby) and contact him at

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