Favreau Joins The Beast of the Northern Wild

Photo: Haddad Media

So much for Los Angeles for former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau. The recently departed director of communications made his media farewell tour and we had all assumed he set sail for greener pasteurs inspired by (now canceled) 1600 Penn. Instead it seems Favreau figured out there was another Favreau in town and decided to go the traditional route for former presidential speechwriters: a bi-weekly column at The Daily Beast. This comes after the fact that Favreau is yet another former White House staffer looking to open his own specialized communications firm in Washington. But at least he’s following in the time-honored footsteps of the Beltway!

Fishbowl NY has the full memo for News|Beast Editor-in-Chief Tina Brown:
I am thrilled to announce that President Obama’s former director of speechwriting Jon Favreau is joining The Daily Beast as a bi-weekly columnist. It’s wonderful to have his combination of writing talent and sophisticated insight as commentary on the political scene.

Says Jon, “I’m excited to join the talented variety of writers and political observers who contribute to The Daily Beast, and hope I can add a new perspective from time to time based on the experiences I’ve had over the last several years.”

Please join me in welcoming him to The Daily Beast!


Obama Scores With Gridiron Club Dinner

Obama Waves to Press

Not only was this weekend unseasonably nice compared to the Snowquester,but President Barack Obama attended the 125th Gridiron Club and Foundation Dinner. (Technically the fifth for the combined Club and Foundation, but as if memories go back that far in Washington these days).

Attending for the second time since 2011, President Barack Obama opened up with remarks that brought the Beltway press to be responsible for their pleas about access and Bob Woodward’s recent fear of threats. Or, as scarily brought up by The Reliable Source, “Is it possible he’s beginning to like these dinners?”

“Before I begin, I know some of you have noticed that I’m dressed a little differently from the other gentlemen. Because of sequester, they cut my tails. My joke writers have been placed on furlough,” the president said. That’s what happens when your star speechwriter goes off to Tinseltown. Other politicans that stopped by this year include Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Senator Amy Klobuchar and Senator Al Franken (“How do you start off being one of the original writers for Saturday Night Live and end up being the second-funniest Senator in Minnesota? How the mighty have fallen.”)

Some of the choicer cuts with a Favreau–although we can’t imagine he didn’t have at least one pass at this–less Obama:

On Woodward:
“Now I know that some folks think we responded to Woodward too aggressively. But hey, when has — can anybody tell me when an administration has ever regretted picking a fight with Bob Woodward? What’s the worst that could happen?”

On White House Correspondents Dinner Chairman Ed Henry:
“While we’re on this subject, I want to acknowledge Ed Henry, who is here — who is the fearless leader of the Washington press corps now. And at Ed’s request, tonight I will take one question from the press. Jay, do we have a question? Surprisingly, it’s a question from Ed Henry. ‘Mr. President, will you be taking any questions tonight?’ I’m happy to answer that. No, Ed, I will not.”

Proof That Favreau Must’ve Written Something:
“But all these changes to my team are tough to handle, I’ve got to admit. After nine years, I finally said goodbye to my chief speechwriter, Jon Favreau. I watched him grow up. He’s almost like a son to me, he’s been with me so long. And I said to him when he first informed me of his decision, I said, ‘Favs, you can’t leave.’ And he answered with three simple words — ‘yes, I can.’ Fortunately, he did not take the prompter on his way out. That would have been a problem.”

And just to show the President is well aware of his Internet status, he ended his speech on a nerd note:
“So I want to thank everybody for not just a wonderful evening — and, Chuck [Lewis], I want to thank you for your outstanding presidency — but I also just want to thank you for the work that you do each and every day. And in the words of one of my favorite Star Trek characters — Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise — ‘May the force be with you.'”

Jon Favreau Says Farewell on Colbert

Jon Favreau, Obama’s soon-to-be-departing outgoing director of speechwriting, stopped by The Colbert Report last night to go over his time with the President and his Hollywood aspirations. While the esteemed former Super PAC founder hoped to go back on the nine-year veteran’s career prior to the White House (“please use the words fry cook.”)

While today is technically Favreau’s last day at the White House–again, Colbert: “I booked you 24 hours too early!” While he and David Axelrod were responsible for the 2009 White House Correspondents Dinner sketches, Favreau’s departure from Washington for Los Angeles may be tough. After all, there’s already Jon Favreau, writer-director of Swingers and Iron Man. But Vanity Fair has us covered in a tale of the Favs. The full Colbert video below:

Newsweek and Daily Beast Bring the Big Names #WHCD

The combined forces of Newsweek and Daily Beast strike gold again. Take a look at their invites for the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.

Actress Anna Paquin, and husband Stephen Moyer (HBO’s True Blood), Colin Powell & wife Alma, Russell Simmons, Meghan McCain, German Ambassador Klaus Scharioth, and Rep. Aaron Schock.

This may also be the best dressed group, with designers Michael Kors and Diane von Furstenberg.

President Obama and WHCD host Seth Meyers will have their own cheering section with WH Speechwriter Jon Favreau and fellow SNL funnyman Jason Sudeikis.

Plus Tina Brown, Barry Diller, Jane Harman join NewsBeasters Howie Kurtz, Andrew Sullivan, Lois Romano, Peter Beinart, John Avlon, Lloyd Grove and Kathy O’Hearn.

Favreau Funny Factory

Jon Favreau, Graydon Carter at the 2009 Bloomberg & Vanity Fair Cocktail Reception
Photo - BILLY FARRELL/PatrickMcMullan.com

President Obama owned the room at the 2009 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner before some 3,000 elites in the Washington Hilton Ballroom. While the President’s charisma and innate comic timing carried him through the night, he did have a little help from his scribes.

Speechwriters Jon Favreau and Jon Lovett led the charge with timely references, including a video where the President welcomes a “Pirate” to the Oval Office (a tip of the feather-topped hat to Bloomberg Media guest Richard Phillips, Captain of the Maersk ship who was captured by Somali pirates in April 2009 and valiantly rescued by US Navy SEALS).

Senior Advisor David Axelrod was one of the top presidential aides who helped come up with the visual joke.

Tom Vietor, Jeff Nussbaum, Jeff Shesol, and a few other outside joke writers helped polish the President’s speech. This year, it will also be a team effort to make sure WHCA Dinner host Jay Leno will not be the only one getting laughs.

No pirates this year, but there’s bound to be a health care joke or two tickling the crowd’s funny bone.

Politico has more on what it takes to make a president funny – on purpose.

Team Obama Rocks the Stage

Relase Party for the Beatles Rock Band

Release Party for the Beatles Rock Band

The Obama campaign team famously hung together in Chicago and reportedly spent what little “down time” there was available playing Rock Band.

Tuesday night looked like a campaign reunion with Katie McCormick Lelyveld on drums, Jon Favreau on bass, Jenny Cizner and Adam Frankel on vocals, and Katie Johnson on guitar at the Entertainment Software Association’s release party for the Beatles Rock Band video game.

At Gibson Guitar’s showroom in downtown D.C., politicos joined media mavens living the dream on the video game stage. The floor rocked when Viacom’s DeDe Lea (who revealed she was born 9 months after the Beatles first appeared on the Ed Sullivan show) and Senator Jim Webb’s Kim Hunter were joined by White House Visitors Office Director Ellie Schafer, Craig Hagen, Director of Governmentt Affairs, Electronic Arts and Rich Taylor from ESA. (And yes, he really did reenact Kanye West’s MTV awards show contretemps to the roar of the crowd.)

ROCKBAND The Beatles - Invite

Also stepping up to the microphone: Representatives Jesse Jackson, Jr., and Joe Crowley, who won rave reviews for their performance of Beatles favorites.

Rock Lighter ruled and there was no mention of health care.

Check out the rest of the photos here!

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Favreau, Axelrod and Lovett Write Obama Comedy Hit

The Examiner’s Jeff Dufour got the scoop of the night: Who wrote the President’s comedy routine? Jon Favreau, the president’s chief speechwriter. Favreau told The Examiner it took him two weeks, working with speechwriter Jon Lovett, Obama political adviser David Axelrod, and a team of joke writers, to craft the punch lines. He also said they spent several hours on Friday, working out Obama’s opening sight gag with the teleprompter screens.

U.S. President Barack Obama attends the White House Correspondents Dinner in Washington