The Gods have delivered. Start your photoshop!
This past weekend the National Press Gallery Dinner was held at the Museum of Civilization in Hull Quebec. This is an annual shindig that sees members of the parliamentary press gallery invite politicians and other non-press gallery members to a fancy black tie evening of dinner and debauchery.
I won't say which member of the Press Gallery invited me in case it reflects badly on his taste in friends. Likewise I won't comment on his taste in fancy dress because he wore a kilt.
The big draw is the speeches. The Governor General and all the party leaders are required to deliver a speech that is, in theory, supposed to be humourous. I've never attended the dinner before, so for a geek like me it was a thrill.
Anyone who is anyone in Ottawa attends. If seeing Mike Duffy and Don Newman together in the same room gives you a boner; this is the place you wanna be. It is sexy, it is glamorous, and it is broadcast live on CPAC. To put that into context, the Oscars are watched by over a billion people worldwide, the potential television audience for the press gallery dinner is upwards of 60 people, 71 if you include Quebec.
Where you are seated, and how close you are to the stage and the Prime Minister speaks volumes about how important you are in the Ottawa firmament. I don’t want to brag here but how important am I you ask? Lets just say that I was at a table with Sheila Copps. I think if Ernst Zundel got back in the country he could get closer to the action than I was.
Here is my thumbnail review of the evening.
Anthony Germain - Our Master of Ceremonies . The host of CBC radio’s The House was very funny and very saucy. My guess is that he has recently won the lotto because he seemed totally fine with the idea of pissing off anyone and everyone in Ottawa. My guess is he will never work again, which in comedy is a great compliment. Congratulations Anthony! Bonne Chance.
Michaelle Jean - Foxy new GG. Tough gig for her being the neophyte in the room. She was pretty funny and didn't pull punches. She slapped everyone including Adrienne which people seemed to especially enjoy.
Paul Martin - Goofy Prime Minister. The best speech of the night. He had a bizarre confidence I have never seen before. This may have something to do with the fact that Martin ended with a video, which featured Brian Mulroney saying, "go fuck yourself". This was a huge coup for Martin and kind of embarrassing for the Conservatives who either didn't think of getting Mulroney or worse, couldn't land him.
Stephen Harper - Tory Leader. He really does do great impersonations. Harper had my favourite line of the evening when he described the entire evening as a night where "people who aren't funny tell jokes to people with no sense of humour". Great line, but not entirely accurate. But hey, good comedy is like good policy, you don't want the facts get in the way of the joke.
Jack Layton - Fearless Socialist. Jack Layton sang and played guitar. I have to admit when I saw the guitar I feared for the worst. I kind of panicked at the idea of being trapped in a room while Layton strummed a guitar and sang songs by 70’s super folk rock band Bread. It didn’t happen though Jack surprised us all. Jack did three "funny" songs and then left the stage leaving them wanting more and he never uttered a spoken word.
Gille Duceppe - Coward. No show.
Nothing else to report really. Sheila Copps should probably check her meds and Belinda’s dress was all the talk. One of those bright young conservative MPs in the Tory youth caucus asked me if I thought Belinda’s dress was "appropriate". Maybe he was confusing me with his pastor. Usually when guys in their 20’s talk about boobs they are pro cleavage. Maybe next year she should consider a Hugo Boss Burka so as to not offend the young conservatives.
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