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Colin Jost’s Best White House Correspondents’ Dinner Jokes

Colin Jost’s Best White House Correspondents’ Dinner Jokes
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Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

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It’s an election year, and between questions of President Joe Biden’s mental fitness and anger at his administration’s role in financing the death and displacement of innocent civilians in Gaza, a lot of key voter blocs are not feeling enthusiastic to cast a vote for the incumbent candidate right now. It’s perhaps an inopportune time politically for him to be the guest of honor at a roast. Nevertheless, despite pro-Palestine protests outside the Washington Hilton venue, the 2024 White House Correspondents’ Dinner took place as scheduled on April 27. In the event’s headliner, SNL’s Colin Jost, the White House Correspondents’ Association found a practiced roastmaster with a wealth of previous experience to draw from making fun of Biden live on Saturday nights.

The president mostly got off easy in Jost’s address, with the majority of the jabs in his direction being light dustings about his age that wouldn’t sound out of place on “Weekend Update.” The topic came up in Biden’s own remarks minutes earlier, which he used as an opportunity to take a few digs at Donald Trump and do some campaigning. Trump caught his fair share of flak in Jost’s set too, as did standard Correspondents’ Dinner target Fox News, the media industry’s dire straits writ large, Mitch McConnell, and Jost’s hometown borough of Staten Island. Wordplay featured heavily, and Jost delivered his jokes while grinning sheepishly, his eyes darting back and forth across the room.

Outside of his jokes, the comedian echoed the sentiments of headliners in years past by noting the event’s symbolism of America’s commitment to the free press, and ended his set by remarking on the “decency” that allows for this. If it is indeed the “last White House Correspondents’ Dinner,” as he hypothesized, here are some of the more notable jokes he told in its farewell send-off.

• “Good evening, everyone. I’m Colin Jost, and I’ll be delivering the Republican response. I’ll be honest with you: I don’t have a lot of time. I need to get back to New York because I’m juror number five on a big trial. Trump’s lawyer took one look at me and he’s like, ‘He’s got to be on our side.’”

• “I am honored to be here hosting what is, according to swing-state polls, the final White House Correspondents’ Dinner. I hope that tonight will be a night to remember … [Glancing at President Biden] … for most of us. I was excited to be up here onstage with President Biden tonight, mostly to see if I could figure out where Obama was pulling the strings from. I have to admit: It’s not easy following President Biden. I mean it’s not always easy following what he’s saying.”

• “Can we just acknowledge how refreshing it is to see a President of the United States at an event that doesn’t begin with a bailiff saying, ‘All rise’? And I would like to point out: It’s after 10 p.m.; Sleepy Joe is still awake, while Donald Trump has spent the past week falling asleep in court every morning — though Fox News said he was just being ‘anti-woke.’”

• “We are all here tonight at nerd prom. Well, Matt Gaetz is at regular prom.”

• “Like many of you here tonight, I pretend to do news on TV. My ‘Weekend Update’ co-anchor Michael Che was going to join me here tonight, but in solidarity with President Biden, I decided to lose all my Black support. Che told me to say that, and I’m just realizing I was set up.”

• “As a former aspiring journalist, I want to genuinely congratulate all the award winners here tonight. The Correspondents’ Association provides scholarships to promising young journalism students who may one day be sent off to cover dangerous geopolitical hotspots, like Columbia University.”

• “Fox News is here tonight. It’s the end of an era. Rupert Murdoch stepped down at Fox News, which is strange. I didn’t think there was a ‘step down’ from Fox News.”

• “Wordle is here tonight. Sorry, sorry, I meant the New York Times. I forgot they do stuff in addition to puzzles. I have to say: It’s not a great sign when the only thing keeping a print media company alive are games people play on their phones. Too chilling for you guys? This room just froze faster than Mitch McConnell.”

• “Apologies to the Times, but as a Staten Islander, I still get all my news from the New York Post: The only paper where the front page always has the same 200-point font, whether the headline is ‘World War III to Start Tomorrow’ or ‘Central Park Owl Dead in Building Collision.’ The New York Post is like having the New York Times summarized for you by a crackhead. The Times will say, ‘A Border Deal Continues to Evade Congress,’ and the Post is like, ‘These Mexicans Are Taking My Stuff!’”

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• “Lara Trump is here tonight. She recently released a cover of the song ‘I Won’t Back Down.’ Upon hearing it, Tom Petty died again. I can’t believe I’m saying this to a member of the Trump family, but maybe stick to politics?”

• “There are so many hardworking, influential Senators and Congresspeople here tonight, and I just want to say on behalf of everyone I know: Stop emailing us! We get it: ‘Democracy is on the line.’ And your plan to save it is to flood our inboxes like you’re Crate & Barrel.”

• “I love being in Washington. The last time I was in D.C., I left my cocaine at the White House. Luckily, the president was able to put it to good use for his State of the Union. I’m kidding, of course. The president doesn’t call it ‘cocaine,’ he calls it ‘high-speed rail.’”

• “There’s an election six extremely long months from now. So let me see if I can summarize where this race stands at this moment: The Republican candidate for president owes half a billion in fines for bank fraud, and is currently spending his days farting himself awake during a porn star hush money trial, and the race is tied?! The race is tied! Nothing makes sense anymore! The candidate who was a famous New York City playboy took abortion rights away, and the guy who’s trying to give you your abortion rights back is an 80-year-old Catholic.”

• “President Biden: Isn’t it crazy that he’s only our second Catholic president? And what’s even crazier is that, in just a few short months, we’ll have our third in RFK Jr. I’m kidding. Like his vaccine card says, he doesn’t have a shot.”

• “People keep asking if our lives are better than they were four years ago. Of course they are. Four years ago, we didn’t have online sports gambling. What more do you need? By the way, that’s probably what’s keeping the economy afloat: online gambling and Taylor Swift.”

• “Now that O.J. is dead, who is the new frontrunner for Trump’s VP? Is it Diddy? By the way, I bet if Trump did select Diddy as his running mate, I bet this race would still be tied!”

• “Journalists, these are challenging times, and we need the people in this room to help guide us through it. Your jobs are not easy, and it doesn’t help that we’re living at the end of traditional media. The gatekeepers are gone. Did you know that 90% of people now get their news exclusively from social media? And that must be true, because I saw it in a random guy’s TikTok. He was recording the video while driving a Toyota Corolla, but he seemed to know his stuff. Isn’t it crazy, by the way, that TikTok could be outlawed in the U.S. by the end of this year? That’s a real shame, because we’re gonna need TikTok to document who is storming the Capitol next January 6.”

• “I would really like to take a moment to recognize all the print journalists in this room. Your words speak truth to power, your words bring light to the darkness, and most importantly, your words train the AI programs that will soon replace you.”

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• “Though this may be the worst time in history to be a print journalist, it is the best time in history to be a courtroom sketch artist. My God! The most famous man on earth is on trial, and there’s no cameras allowed — just the artists, their pastels, and their desire to make Trump look as bad as possible. Every sketch of Trump looks like the Grinch had sex with the Lorax.”





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