Trevor Noah Roasts Lawmakers During Correspondents’ Dinner
02:02 GMT 02.05.2022 (Updated: 18:25 GMT 03.11.2022)
© AP Photo / Invision / Charles Sykes / Trevor Noah attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "Camp: Notes on Fashion" exhibition on Monday, May 6, 2019, in New York
© AP Photo / Invision / Charles Sykes /
Trevor Noah opened the return of the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner following two years of cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The South African comedian and host of The Daily Show took aim at lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, journalists and major news media outlets with witty remarks and wild impersonations.
President Joe Biden, who introduced Noah to the stage, appeared to be deeply amused by Noah’s quips and impersonations about politicians, media outlets, journalists and yes, even the Biden himself.
“It is my great honor to be speaking tonight at the nation’s most distinguished superspreader event,” began Noah at the annual gala. “Do you read any of your own newspapers?!” The comedian exclaimed, playfully chastising the room which was filled with various members of the media.
“You guys spent the last two years telling everyone 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,” the comedian said, referencing podcaster Joe Rogan who has made frequent false claims regarding COVID-19 on his Spotify show.
“Give it up for Kyrsten Sinema,” said Noah. “Whoever thought we’d see the day in American politics when a senator could be openly bisexual, but closeted Republican.” Senator Sinema (D-AZ) has been ridiculed by her Democratic constituents as well as volunteers and staffers for leaning right in her voting, particularly in January when she effectively killed a voting rights bill.
“It is risky making jokes these days, we all saw what happened at the Oscars,” said Noah, referencing what is now known as “slap-gate”. “What if I make like a really mean joke, about like Kellyanne Conway… and then her husband rushes up on the stage and thanks me,” he quipped to a room filled with laughter.
The Conways are known for having different political views. Kellyanne was the former Senior Counselor to the President during the Donald Trump administration. And on the other hand, George created the Lincoln Project, a conservative Super PAC dedicated to “defeating President Trump and Trumpism at the ballot box.”
Noah also threw punches at Chris Cuomo, the American journalist who was fired from CNN after violating journalistic ethics in an effort to help his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo who found himself entrenched in sexual harassment allegations.
Despite Noah poking fun at Biden’s struggling poll numbers and the problems he faces like the country’s rising inflation, the president seemed particularly amused when the South African comedian poked fun at CNN.
“They just brought on Chris Licht as the new head of [CNN] News. His first order of business? Hire a guy who knows how to turn off the ‘breaking news’ banner. What happened with that? They just put it on during the O.J. [Simpson] chase and then never figured out how to get rid of it?” Noah joked as the president tried to stifle his laughter. “The news is not always breaking.”
Despite teasing media outlets including CNN, Fox News host Tucker Carlson, and even “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd, Noah emphasized the important role media plays in exposing truth, mentioning the rising issue of conspiracy theories.
“This is truly the golden era of conspiracy theories, whether it’s the right wing believing Trump can still win the 2020 election or the left believing that Joe Biden could still win the 2024 election,” he joked.
Every single one of you, whether you like it or not, is a bastion of democracy,” he pointed out. “In America you have the right to seek the truth and speak the truth, even if it makes people in power uncomfortable. Even if it makes your viewers or your readers uncomfortable,” voiced Noah, emphasizing that the freedom of the press in the United States is a “blessing”.
The South African comedian may hold the opinion that American media is “blessed”, but others, such as Edward Snowden who has been exiled to Russia since 2013 after leaking highly classified information form the National Security Agency (NSA) in an effort to expose the fact that the American government was spying on its own citizens, may feel differently.
Biden also continues the U.S. government-led hunt for the WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange in an effort to make Assange “pay for his crimes” by charging him under the Espionage Act, which no journalist nor publisher has ever been convicted of. The hunt for a case against Assange could threaten First Amendment protections.