Donald Trump might not have been on-hand to appear at the White House Correspondent's Dinner, but that didn't stop the show. If anything, his absence freed the headlining comedian, The Daily Show star Hasan Minhaj, to take even harsher jabs at the president before laying into the press outlets in attendance.
"The leader of our country is not here, but that's because he lives in Moscow. It is a very long flight. Vlad can't just make it on a Saturday," Minhaj joked. "As for the other guy, I think he's in Pennsylvania because he can't take a joke."
Minhaj also justified his decision to put heat on the absent administration by saying, "A lot of people told me, Hasan, if you go after the administration, it'd be petty, unfair and childish — in other words, presidential."
Some of the other memorable zingers from the comedian's 25-minute speech include:
-- "Historically, the President performs at the Correspondent's Dinner, but I think I speak for all of us when I say he's done far too much bombing this month."
-- "Even if you guys groan, I've already hired Kellyanne Conway. She's going to go on Monday morning and tell everybody I killed, so it really doesn't matter."
-- "The news coming out of the White House is so stressful, I've been watching House of Cards just to relax."
-- "Sean Spicer has been doing his job for 18 years and somehow his go-to answer when you ask him a tough question is denying the Holocaust ... How many people do you know who can turn a press briefing into a full-on Mel Gibson traffic stop. Only the Spiceman."
After railing on the networks for their various flaws and faults of late — Fox News for its overdue ouster of Bill O'Reilly, CNN for categorizing everything as "breaking news," and MSNBC for becoming a conspiracy theorist haven of late — Minhaj then dubbed himself a "fake journalist" and offered some words of solidarity with the press.
"It was all fun and games with Obama. You were covering an adult who spoke English, and now you're covering President Trump, so you've got to take your game to a whole new level. It's like if a bunch of stripper cops had to solve a real-life murder," he said. "The age of Trump, you guys have to be more perfect than ever because you are how the president get his news. Not from advisers, not from experts, not from intelligence agencies — you guys. So that's why you've got to be on your A-game, 'cause when one of you messes up, he blames your entire group. And now you know what it feels like to be a minority."
Minhaj went on to tout the importance of the First Amendment — and the irony that Trump doesn't respect it, even if it gives him the freedom to tweet at will — and thanked the administration for inspiring the next generation of journalists.