Attendees at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner on Saturday knew this edition of the traditional event would be like no other. US President Donald Trump gave the event a miss, the first time an incumbent POTUS has skipped the event in 36 years. Trump’s administration also skipped the dinner in solidarity with the president.
In what will be remembered as one of the most muted down Correspondents’ Dinners of recent times, comedian Hasan Minhaj took the stage to roast the president. Hasan was quick to explain why he had been picked to headline the event. “No one wanted to do this. So of course, it lands in the hands of an immigrant. That’s how it always goes down. No one wanted this gig," said the 31-year-old Indian-origin comedian.
The Daily Show senior correspondent, who was reportedly asked to steer clear of jokes about Trump, did not let the President’s absence hold him back.
In case you missed it, here are a few best moments from Minhaj’s roast:
Anything Is Possible
“You know, now that a professional wrestler’s our president, anything is possible,” he said.
You know, that statement, anything is possible, used to have a positive connotation. Now we’re all like, “anything is possible.” ANYTHING.
Keep Trump Distracted
“Every time Donald Trump goes golfing, the headline should read: ‘Trump Golfing, Apocalypse Delayed. Take the W’,” the comedian said.
Do you want to know what he’s not doing when he’s golfing? Being president! Let the man putt putt! Keep him distracted... the longer you keep him distracted, the longer we’re not at war with North Korea.
What Is Trump’s Excuse?
Minhaj also took jibes at Trump’s teetotal lifestyle.
You know Donald Trump doesn’t drink, right? Does not touch alcohol. Which is oddly respectable. But think about that. That means every statement, every interview, every tweet, completely sober. How is that possible?
The ‘Presidential’ Adjectives
You know, a lot of people told me, Hasan, if you go after the administration, it would be petty, unfair, and childish. In other words, presidential. So here we go.
From vice-president Mike Pence to Trump advisor Steve Bannon, to his daughter Ivanka Trump, Minhaj took potshots at everyone. Hillary Clinton, Bill O’Reilly and the Trump administration's knack of deleting history faster than Anthony Weiner also found mention in his roast.
‘You Gotta Be Twice as Good’
“Be on your A game,” he told the journalists at the event. He also likened the press to a minority community, a comparison that garnered loud applause.
In the age of Trump, I know that you guys have to be more perfect now more than ever, because you are how the president gets his news... You gotta be twice as good. You can’t make any mistakes. Because when one of you messes up, he blames your entire group. And now you know what it feels like to be a minority.
“Only in America can a first-generation, Indian-American Muslim kid get on this stage and make fun of the president. The orange man behind the Muslim ban,” he said, towards the end of the roast.