Samantha Bee seriously upped the ante at her second Not The White House Correspondents Dinner taping, Friday night.
Two years after hosting her first mock dinner in response to President Donald Trump announcing he would not attend, Bee this time also pounced on the correspondents group, for deciding this year to forgo the traditional comic roasting of POTUS. The White House Correspondents’ Association made that call after Michelle Wolf last year succeeded in her goal of burning down the place, for which the WHCA issued an apology.
On an enormous screen, Bee displayed what she described as reporting on every single Trump scandal since he was sworn in, each being an example of the valuable work the journalists do. Including his administration’s decision to snatch babies at the border, and “letting Chinese spies wander around Mar-a-Lago.”
“How did they ever crack the Mar-a-Lago WiFi pass?” Bee marveled.
“I’m kidding – it’s ‘Tits’ but the ‘s’ is a ‘5’,” she said, getting one of the night’s biggest laughs at DAR Constitution Hall in downtown DC.
While applauding the journalists for “holding the president and all of us accountable” she savaged the association for what she sees as caving to Trump’s tweeting that the event needed an overhaul.
“No one should ever do what the president tweets!” Bee scolded.
(In a promo for Saturday night’s broadcast, which you can see above, Bee explained to viewers, “I promised myself I’d never do another one of these, but someone’s got to roast that mother*cker and, if they won’t do it, I will.”)
Still, she sympathized with what White House correspondents endure covering Trump. Most recently, she noted, that includes listening to his “helicopter screams that white supremacists are still cool” when asked earlier that same day. During a White House lawn pop-up presser hours before Bee’s taping, Trump insisted he had answered “perfectly” a question, back in 2017, about the Charlottesville white supremacist rally in which a counter protester was killed by a rally participant, saying there were “very fine people on both sides” of that event.
To that point, Bee took time in her second dinner to chastise the press for using terms like “racially charged remarks” to describe Trump’s racism, making it less uncomfortable, for viewers/readers, because “a lot of people think being called ‘racist’ is worse than actual racism.”
In an amusing update on the My Fair Lady song “The Rain In Spain,” Bee learned, Eliza Doolittle-ishly, how to properly say what Trump and his base are espousing, singing “A Racist Did Racism Which Was Racist.”
This year’s TBS special opens with a video in which Alien franchise star Sigourney Weaver discovers Bee hiding on her spacecraft, by way of explaining to viewers how Bee got dragged into doing another of these dinners, after assuring them the first, in 2017, was a one-and-only event.
“I can’t do it! I can’t cover another presidential election!” Bee wails. “Nate Silver is going to f*ck us again!”
Argues Weaver, “You have to host a dinner; it’s the most important thing there is!…Journalists have one of the most difficult jobs today and you have to go down there and tell them how important their jobs are.”
Except, turns out, Ali Velshi also is hiding out on the craft, as is Katie Couric, who confesses “I’d rather get another televised colonoscopy than cover the election.”
“TBS needs me!” Bee realizes. Weaver throws cold water on that idea, reminding her “They still have The Big Bang Theory.”
In another evening highlight, The West Wing alum Bradley Whitford joined two of Bee’s Full Frontal correspondents to hand out awards to various journalists.
Best On Screen Romance went to MSNBC’s Morning Joe co-hosts/newlyweds Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, as Bee played clips of Scarborough flirting with Brzezinski on their morning show and Brzezinski’s consistently horrified reax, including once asking him, “What are you doing?! It’s 6:03 [AM]!”
The Loneliest Boy At Fox Award went to Shep Smith As Bee played clips of Shep telling viewers “there is no invasion; no one is coming to get you” in marked contrast to FNC’s primetime opinion-ators’ caravan coverage.
The Not The White House Correspondents Dinner’s The Robert Award was given to Gayle King for most on-air mentions of the name, during her CBS interview with R. Kelly.
Bee herself gave Trump the roasting he so richly deserves, but which the White House Correspondents Dinner will not give him this year, because featured speaker will be historian Ron Chernow. Bee acknowledged Trump had attended a previous roast, on Comedy Central. But that was way back in 2011, when he was roasted for being star of NBC’s The Apprentice/Celebrity Apprentice franchise. Which, Bee argued, is “like roasting Hitler for his use of water colors” during his first career as an artist.
Robert De Niro was the big finale for this year’s Bee dinner. In his appearance, the actor who plays Mueller on Saturday Night Live continued to struggle charmingly with the teleprompter as he gave journalists credit for doing “ a lot of [Mueller’s] work for him.”
“In many ways, his report is your greatest hits album,” he told them. “Turns out, you are not enemies of the people. You are heroes.”
De Niro urged diners who want to do more to protect the country, to “help rid us of the scum that demonized them,” noting there will be an election in 2020 “unless Mitch McConnell can figure out a way to stop that too.”
TBS will air Not The White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday at 10 PM, as the Actual White House Correspondents Dinner is being carried on cable news networks and C-Span, among other outlets.