Laura Bush's Comic Routine Stops the Show

UPDATED 05/02/2005 at 03:00 PM EDT Originally published 05/02/2005 at 08:00 AM EDT

Laura Bush's Comic Routine Stops the Show
President and Laura Bush
Jonathan Ernst/Reuters/Landov
Forget Tina Fey and Amy Poehler – the weekend's big comedy duo was George W. and Laura Bush.

The first lady actually stole the show at Saturday's 91st annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner with a surprise comedy routine that lampooned her husband and brought an audience that included much of official Washington – and such bold-faced names as Jane Fonda, Goldie Hawn, Richard Gere, Mary Tyler Moore and Williams sisters Venus and Serena – to a standing ovation.

It was the president who began the speechifying at the event, only to be interrupted by Laura, who said to him: "Not that old joke, not again." As the crowd guffawed, she added: "I've got a few things I want to say for a change."

As the president resumed his seat and often turned red-faced at his wife's remarks, Mrs. Bush informed the audience that he is "usually in bed by now" and said she recently advised him: "If you really want to end tyranny in the world, you're going to have to stay up later."

A typical Bush evening, according to the first lady: "Nine o'clock, Mr. Excitement here is sound asleep and I'm watching Desperate Housewives. " Pause for the laugh, then: "With Lynne Cheney. Ladies and gentlemen, I am a desperate housewife. I mean, if those women on that show think they're desperate, they ought to be with George."

Housewives hunk James Denton, who was at the event, told PEOPLE he loved that his show was referenced in the speech: "When the first lady is telling Desperate Housewives jokes that's okay. It just reminds you what a phenomenon the show is. It is surreal."

But Laura Bush's mini standup routine didn't end there: "I can pronounce 'nuclear,'" she said. And there was even a mother-in-law joke.

"So many mothers today are just not involved in their children's lives. Not a problem with Barbara Bush ... People think she's a sweet grandmotherly, Aunt Bea-type (like on The Andy Griffith Show)." Instead, said her daughter-in-law, "She's more like Don Corleone" of The Godfather.

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