updated 05/04/2014 AT 9:00 AM ET
•originally published 05/04/2014 AT 10:30 AM ET
Joel McHale is host of the E! show The Soup and, more importantly, the star of a low-rated sitcom, NBC’s Community, that will be analyzed for years to come for its ingenuity, absurdity and keen sense of what it’s like to surf and even drown in the great big ocean of American pop culture.
His night as the comic headliner for the 2014 White House Correspondents’ Dinner I’m going to just try and forget.
I’m working on it. I still have a few images of Seth MacFarlane hosting the 2013 Oscars that I haven’t completely pinged out of my synapses.
McHale, 42, gave probably the worst performance I’ve seen at the press corps dinner, now known with a rather affected adorableness as the “nerd prom.”
This felt more like the finale of Carrie.
Ostensibly a roast of the President and, to varying degrees, Washington journalists and politicians, it was closer to scorched earth.
McHale is actually very funny, but his humor is marked by satirical, judgmental scorn – a perfectly legitimate scorn, in our or any age, but one that didn’t play well at Saturday’s event in the nation’s capital.
McHale, who looked quite pleasant and even boyish talking with Michelle Obama before his performance, stood before the crowd, narrowed his eyes and, like a very young Captain Ahab confronted with a shelf of plush white whales in a toy store, shot off one harpoon after another.
He didn’t miss, but he did aim low.