Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai probably thought he was adhering to the stand-up comedian’s precept to “know the room” when he launched himself on a jokey, self-deprecating speech last week, complete with a videotaped comedy skit.
After all, he was appearing as the featured speaker at the annual dinner of the Federal Communications Bar Assn. That’s a group of which he was once a member, as an in-house Washington attorney for the big telecommunications firm Verizon.
Therefore, he could count on his audience appreciating his inside jokes about prominent members of the telecom bar and the issues they’ve brought to the FCC on behalf of their corporate clients.
Leaving aside that many of his quips fell flat, especially a giocoso reference to President Trump’s designation of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel that elicited groans and at least one exclamation of profane disgust audible on the tape, Pai may not have counted on his speech getting beamed to a much larger audience. But one of his listeners recorded his entire act on a smartphone, and leaked it to Gizmodo.