Colin Jost Roasts Media, Gets Sentimental With Biden at Correspondents Dinner

The annual White Home Correspondents Dinner could also be dubbed the inside-the-beltway “Nerd Promenade” in some circles. Nonetheless, this 12 months’s soirée, which happened on Saturday night time on the Washington Hilton, was the most well liked ticket within the nation’s capital — perhaps the whole nation — as President Joe Biden and the First Woman sat alongside the Hollywood elite and senior authorities officers mingled with actors, rappers and rockers.

They had been all gathered to toast free speech and watch the president and Saturday Night time Reside Colin Jost roast Donald Trump, the state of the media, and in a standard theme of the night time, the commander-in-chief’s age. 

Earlier than the occasion started, a whole lot of protesters had gathered exterior the Hilton within the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington to confront attendees and encourage journalists to boycott the occasion. The demonstrators shouted concerning the deaths of journalists in Gaza as they lined the continued battle there and held banners whereas chanting “Free, free Palestine.” Biden was additionally reportedly confronted by a smaller group of protesters calling for a ceasefire on Israel’s lethal floor marketing campaign in Gaza. 

Later within the night, Biden took to the rostrum the place he fired off a relentless sequence of gags that went after headliner Jost (addressing the SNL author’s spouse, Scarlett Johansson: “Clearly, you’re the humorous one within the household”); his presumed opponent Donald Trump on this 12 months’s presidential race (“My vice chairman really endorses me…”); and even acknowledged the hot-button difficulty of his age, which as the primary octogenarian presidential candidate is a central difficulty for voters (“Sure, I’m a grown man working towards a six-year-old”).

Jost took the stage following Biden’s few quips and a fast nod to the sacredness of a free press. His time on the podium in entrance of Hollywood and Washington’s elite acquired notably middling reactions, along with his jokes (“I’ve to confess, it’s not straightforward following President Biden. I imply, it’s not all the time straightforward following what he’s saying…”) and jabs at members of the gathered viewers (“​Bernie Sanders is right here as a result of he’s not the sort to move up a free sizzling meal”). 

This was on no account an absolute catastrophe for Jost. However his 20 minutes on stage had been marked with a notable quantity of silence because the gags didn’t land, and the headliner gave far too many pauses for laughter or impact. The prize taker for Jost’s worst gag? “My ‘Weekend Replace’ co-anchor, Michael Che, was going to affix me right here tonight — however in solidarity with President Biden, I made a decision to lose all my Black help.” The booing got here and the silence lingered after that one. 

But ultimately, Jost turned it round with easy sentimentality and by providing a honest second on to the U.S. president. Citing his late firefighter grandfather, who died this previous 12 months, Jost informed Biden that he reminds him of the person who had voted for the president in 2020. 

“My grandpa voted for decency, and decency is why we’re all right here tonight. Decency is how we’re capable of be right here tonight,” Jost mentioned. “Decency is how we’re capable of make jokes about one another and one in all us doesn’t go to jail after — we go to the Newsmax after get together.”

“If you have a look at the degrees of freedom all through historical past, and even world wide as we speak, this is the exception. This freedom is extremely uncommon and the journalists on this room assist shield that freedom, and we can not ever take that as a right,” he added. 

Jost adopted within the footsteps of earlier comic headliners like Michele Wolf, Roy Wooden Jr., Trevor Noah, Jay Leno, Keegan-Michael Key and lots of others.

The annual occasion is the key income supply for the White Home Correspondents’ Affiliation’s work, as acknowledged on its web site. This consists of journalists working to cowl the U.S. president, academic occasions to the First Modification and a free press, and scholarships to assist the subsequent era of journalists.