First Lady Laura Bush grabbed the stage from President Bush at the White House correspondents annual dinner on Saturday and confessed to all his early bedtimes had turned her into a “desperate housewife.”

Laura Bush, who is often seen smiling sweetly at her husband’s side, stood up just in time to rescue the audience of political heavyweights and Hollywood celebrities from Bush’s retelling of a joke about steel rail “cattle guards” that bombed before a Montana town meeting in March.

“Not that old joke — not again,” Laura Bush said, as her husband willingly relinquished the stage.

“I’ve been attending these dinners for years and just quietly sitting there,” the First Lady told the audience. “Well, I’ve got a few things I want to say for a change.”

One of her main targets was the president’s bed time.

“I said to him the other day, ‘George, if you really want to end tyranny in this world, you’re going to have to stay up later,”‘ Laura Bush said. “Nine o’clock and Mr. Excitement here is in bed, and I am watching ‘Desperate Housewives’ — with Lynne Cheney. Ladies and gentlemen, I am a desperate housewife.”

Laura Bush also ribbed her husband for his notoriously rowdy youth, but said they were meant to be together.

“I was a librarian that spent 12 hours a day in the library. Yet somehow I met George.”

Laura Bush’s string of one-liners generated hearty laughs from the audience, which included celebrity names such as Richard Gere, Mary Tyler Moore, Venus and Serena Williams, Goldie Hawn and Elle MacPherson, as well as journalists and politicians.

The roasting continued as comedian Cedric the Entertainer took the stage, even though he conceded that “I thought I could follow the president. The first lady is something different.”

He said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has two sides to her, one that’s all business and one that has street credibility.

“Condi is the person you see on television with the nice hair, and then there’s Leezza, the one with her hair wrapped up on the phone with her girlfriends watching BET (Black Entertainment Television).”