Colin Jost Roasts Biden, Trump and More at White House Correspondents’ Dinner

Nikki Attkisson | Last Updated : April 29, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The White House Correspondents’ Dinner returned in full force this year, with celebrities, politicians and members of the media gathering for the annual event. And headlining the festivities was “Weekend Update” anchor Colin Jost from NBC’s iconic sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live.

Jost, who attended with his wife Scarlett Johansson, didn’t hold back in his roasting of President Joe Biden, former President Donald Trump, and others in his comedic set. His signature dry, punchy delivery was on full display as he poked fun at the 80-year-old president’s age and controversial moments from his administration.

“It’s not always easy following President Biden…like it’s not always easy following what he’s saying,” Jost quipped early on, getting laughs from the crowd by playfully pointing out Biden’s tendency toward verbal gaffes and confusing statements.

But Jost didn’t just take shots at the president. He threw barbs at Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump as well, joking about Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump being a potential running mate for the former president in 2024.

“And by the way, now that O.J. ‘s dead, who’s the new front runner for Trump’s VP? Is it Diddy?” Jost said, drawing laughs by implying Trump would pick an equally controversial and headline-grabbing figure as a running mate.

No Holding Back on Controversial Topics

Jost showed he wasn’t afraid to touch on some of the most controversial and sensitive topics from the Biden presidency as well. He referenced the dip in Biden’s approval rating among Black voters, as well as the scandal last year when a baggie of cocaine was found in the White House.

“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,” Jost deadpanned.

He then brought up the cocaine incident, saying “I love Washington. Last time I was here I left my cocaine at the White House. Luckily President Biden was able to make good use of it at his State of the Union.”

The jokes showcased Jost’s willingness to mock Biden over some of the most damaging controversies he’s faced, doing so in his typical irreverent comedic style. But he didn’t just go after the president and his administration.

Roasting the Political Establishment

Jost turned his sights on the entire D.C. political establishment, cracking wise about everything from the recent student protests at Columbia University over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to former President Obama’s achievement of taking out Osama bin Laden.

“And Obama got Bin Laden, you got O.J.,” Jost said, dragging Biden by implying his biggest accomplishment so far has been much less impressive than his predecessor’s.

The comedian also touched on lighter topics, like making fun of Vice President Doug Emhoff’s role as the first-ever “second gentleman” by joking that he is used to playing second fiddle to his famous wife Scarlett Johansson.

“Doug, as you can tell by all the comments about my wife, I’m also used to being the Second Gentleman,” Jost quipped.

Despite all the roasting and controversial punchlines, Jost did show some reverence and gratitude toward Biden as his set came to a close. He paid tribute to his late grandfather who voted for Biden, saying, “My grandpa voted for decency, and decency is why we’re all here tonight. Decency is how we’re able to be here tonight.”

The “Thank You” to Biden

While surprising after spending much of his time mocking the president, the sincere thank you showed that even amidst the relentless comedic roasting, Jost does respect Biden and what he represents.

After all, the White House Correspondents’ Dinner is ultimately a celebration of the free press and American democracy – two things Biden has vowed to defend during his time in office, despite his flaws and missteps.

Jost’s willingness to poke fun at the most powerful person in the world, and the entire ruling class of Washington D.C., showed just how important and unique such an event is. Where else could a comedian so brazenly mock the U.S. president to his face without fear of retaliation?

The cutting one-liners and irreverent digs at Biden’s expense reminded the audience that even the most prominent of elected leaders can be taken down a peg through the power of humor and free speech. And that’s exactly what events like the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner represent and uphold.

At the end of the day, despite all the laughter and roasting, the dinner showcased the strength of American democracy and the crucial role the free press and political satire play in holding leaders accountable. As long as there are comedians like Jost who can fearlessly mock the president to his face, it’s a sign that the country’s core democratic values remain intact.

So while Biden may have been the punchline of many of Jost’s jokes, the real winner of the night was the American democratic system that allows such comedic criticism to take place in the first place. Jost’s scorching set showed that regardless of who occupies the Oval Office, the sacred tradition of roasting and satirizing the president lives on.

Nikki Attkisson

With over 15 years as a practicing journalist, Nikki Attkisson found herself at Powdersville Post now after working at several other publications. She is an award-winning journalist with an entrepreneurial spirit and worked as a journalist covering technology, innovation, environmental issues, politics, health etc. Nikki Attkisson has also worked on product development, content strategy, and editorial management for numerous media companies. She began her career at local news stations and worked as a reporter in national newspapers.

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