There is no tougher crowd to please than that bunch of Washington ink-stained wretches who make up the Capitol Hill press corps, but U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner reportedly slayed the crowd when he spoke at their annual dinner Wednesday night.

That’s from the Huffington Post, that leftist bastion of GOP-hating bloggers and journalists. Even the Washington Post gushed about the humorous barbs —

— mostly from Gardner, who brought down the house with a comedy routine that was actually funny — no small accomplishment at the annual dinner, where lawmakers often underscore just how hard standup comedy can be (and the value of sticking to one’s day job). Expectations were low for the modest freshman senator, but he drew lots of laughs, often at the expense of members of his own party. On Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid’s recent accident on exercise machine: “Say what you will but that never, never happens to leaders like Chris Christie.” And in poking fun of the collective age of the Senate, where he says he’s come to enjoy “Hip Replacement Thursdays,” (Gardner) said: “Thad Cochran came up to me in the cloakroom and asked ‘do I come here often?’”

Gardner also got rave reviews from The Hill:

Gardner got seemingly high marks from the crowd for his rapid-fire delivery of one-liners at the event, which traditionally features a pair of lawmakers who deliver humorous remarks. “I recognize I was not the original speaker for the night,” the Senate freshman said with a grin. “I wasn’t the first pick. But you know how [Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.)] is — he can be so picky about the groups he talks to,” Gardner quipped to huge laughs from the audience, making light of the House majority Whip’s speech before a white supremacist group in 2002.

His performance merited numerous tweets from the press corps throughout the show, including these from Matt Fuller of Roll Call, and Garance Franke-Ruta, Washington editor of Yahoo News: