We should have known that it would be a A different sort of White House correspondents’ dinner reports the Washington Post.
Welcome to coverage of the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner. This year, it was different.
That was largely because President Trump declined to attend. Usually, a joke-filled speech by the commander in chief is a highlight of the evening, which helped make the dinner an A-list draw over the decades.
Scriber thinks Trump couldn’t stand the heat of a roast focusing on his lousy performance during the first 100 days and his lies about it.
If the president’s absence was a middle-finger gesture directed at the media, the media struck back with Hasan Minhaj’s “harsh” jokes and jabs. The Post reports on Hasan Minhaj’s Trump-bashing comedy routine at the White House correspondents’ dinner, annotated. Here are some of the barbs.
I would like to thank Jeff Mason and the White House Correspondents’ Association for having me. I would say it is an honor to be here, but that would be an alternative fact. It is not. Uh, no one wanted to do this. So, of course, it lands in the hand of an immigrant. That’s how it always goes down. No one wanted this gig. No one.
Don Rickles died just so you wouldn’t ask him to do this gig, all right? RIP to Don Rickles, the only Donald with skin thick enough to take a joke like that. …
Okay, listen, I get it. I get it. We gotta address the elephant that’s not in the room. The leader of our country is not here. And that’s because he lives in Moscow. It is a very long flight. It’d be hard for Vlad to make it. Vlad can’t just make it on a Saturday. It’s a Saturday.
As for the other guy, I think he’s in Pennsylvania because he can’t take a joke. For the nine people watching on C-SPAN, there also was another elephant in the room, but Donald Trump Jr. shot it and cut off its tail.
Etc. Read the Post’s annotated listing for the other zingers.
And then there was the “Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner” in which Samantha Bee got Will Ferrell to roast Donald Trump — in character as George W. Bush.
Bee — who confessed to the audience this was the largest crowd she’s performed in front of — basically delivered a bigger, more elaborate and live version of her weekly show. The TBS host has found her place in the crowded late-night landscape with a scorched-earth, brutally comedic approach to politics, with Trump and his supporters as a primary target.
“I know it looks like we have a cash bar,” she joked, in one pointed reference, “but as I promised on the invitation, at a later date I will get Mexico to pay for your drinks.”
Addressing journalists, Bee said that “as much as I love poking at the media, I know your job has never been harder: You basically get paid to stand in a cage while a geriatric orangutan gets to scream at you — it’s like a reverse zoo.”
But Ferrell provided the show’s biggest moment. “Quick presidential update: I’m doing quite well, thank you,” he said, as Bush. “History’s been kinder to me than many of you thought. For the longest time, I was considered the worst president of all time. That has changed — and it only took 100 days. I needed eight years, a catastrophic flood, a war built on a lie, an economic disaster. The new guy needed 100 days.”
Ferrell-as-Bush noted his relationship with the press had been strained, too. “You guys always sneaked up on me with gotcha questions like, ‘Why are we going to war? Gotcha!’ ‘Why did you not respond to Hurricane Katrina? Gotcha!’ ”
He added: “Wish someone had just told me that all you have to say is ‘fake news’ over and over again.”