Obama, the first president in decades not to attend the Gridiron Club dinner during his first year in office, couldn't make it because he's busy preparing for Easter, Biden said.
"He thinks it's about him," Biden said of the holiday. Obama spent the weekend at the Camp David presidential retreat in the Maryland mountains with his family.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the evening's Republican speaker, had another explanation for the media and politicians assembled at a downtown Washington ballroom for the festivities.
"He's just not that into you," Schwarzenegger said, referring to the book and movie with that title.
The dinner, the journalistic club's 124th such event, was an opportunity for reporters to make fun of public figures and political themes of the day. It also allowed prominent politicians to needle each other.
Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, the Democratic speaker, said former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, the Republican governor of Alaska, really set back the cause of "hot governors."
"You know where I'm coming from, Ed Rendell," she said, referring to the Pennsylvania governor.
Much of the evening's dark humor focused on the financial crisis.
Biden said Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, in attendance for much of the event, is "always there when you need money, no questions asked."
The humor also addressed Democrats' challenges in governing during tough times. In a sendup of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., someone impersonating the top Democrat in the House sang "Imperial Girl" to the tune of Madonna's "Material Girl."