Trevor Noah took aim at cable news channels and their big-name anchors during his relatively safe set at Saturday night’s White House correspondents’ dinner. Noah was the first comedian to headline the annual event since Michelle Wolf caused a stir with her roasts in 2018; writer Ron Chernow spoke the next year.
The crowd at the Washington Hilton laughed and, at times, gasped as Noah made jabs at President Biden for not being able to fulfill his promises, at CNN for investing in questionable business propositions (RIP CNN Plus) and at journalists in general for spending way too much time on social media.
Here are the best burns from Noah’s speech.
— “You guys spent the last two years telling everyone about the importance of wearing masks and avoiding large, indoor gatherings. Then the second someone offers you a free dinner, you all turn into Joe Rogan, huh?”
— “I’m not doing this just for the attention. I’m a comedian, not Kyrsten Sinema.”
— “I know a lot of you are worried and, yes, it is risky making jokes these days. We all saw what happened at the Oscars. I’ve actually been a bit worried about tonight, I won’t lie. What if I make a really mean joke about Kellyanne Conway and her husband rushes up on the stage and thanks me?”
— “What I like about Ron DeSantis is if Trump was the original Terminator, DeSantis is like the T-1000. You’re smarter than him. You’re slicker than him. You can walk down ramps. Trump said he won the election, but everyone was able to look at the numbers and see that he was wrong. That’s why Ron DeSantis is one step ahead. First you ban the math textbooks, then nobody knows how to count the votes.”
— “The great chef José Andrés is joining us tonight. … Whenever there’s a disaster anywhere in the world, Chef José is there. Which I guess is why he’s sitting at the CNN table tonight.”
— To Biden: “I was a little confused about: Why me? But then I was told you get your highest approval ratings with a biracial African guy standing next to you.”
— “Interesting fact: Even as first lady, Dr. Biden continued her teaching career, the first time a presidential spouse has ever done so. Congratulations. You might think it’s because she loves teaching so much, but it’s actually because she’s still paying off her student debt. I’m sorry about that, Jill. Guess you should’ve voted for Bernie.”
— “As you all know, President Biden’s lack of a filter does get him into hot water sometimes. Last month, he caused a huge international scandal saying that Vladimir Putin should be removed from power. It was very, very upsetting to Russia. Until someone explained to them that none of the stuff Biden wants actually gets done.”
— “Think of all the journalists whose careers have been hurt by the Biden presidency. People like Daniel Dale. He used to be CNN’s fact-checker on TV every day but now there’s barely anything to check. Same for Glenn Kessler at The Washington Post. On the way here, I saw him offering four Pinocchios for a dollar. Mr. President, that’s on you. What about Maggie Haberman? For four years, it was exclusives. … Now look at her. She spends all day fighting with random people on Twitter like a common political reporter.”
— “Fox News is sort of like a Waffle House. It’s relatively normal in the afternoon, but as soon as the sun goes down, there’s a drunk lady named Jeanine threatening to fight every Mexican who comes in.”
— “Apparently Jeff [Zucker] got fired after he tried to keep his workplace relationship a secret, which is weird because if he really didn’t want anyone to know about it, he could’ve just made a show about it on CNN Plus.”
— “They spent $300 million on CNN Plus. Three hundred million. Can I be honest, CNN? I think Stanley Tucci was playing you guys. I think that dude knew exactly where Italy was and he was just going to keep searching as long as you were paying.”
— “This is the golden era of conspiracy theories, whether it’s the right wing believing Trump can still win the 2020 election, or the left believing Joe Biden can still win the 2024 election.”
— “Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate you. Please be careful leaving tonight. We all know this administration doesn’t handle evacuations well.”