The White House Correspondents’ Dinner is still happening this year, regardless of whether Donald Trump actually attends. And though the president has yet to RSVP, there’s no doubt it’s going to be an awkward affair for everyone, considering his feelings about the press. Thankfully, Stephen Colbert has offered to liven things up.
The “Late Show” host appeared as the featured entertainer for the gig back in 2006, when George W. Bush was the president. There, he gave the kind of scathing roast we can’t ever imagine Donald Trump sitting through.
While at a fundraiser benefiting the upcoming Montclair Film Festival on Saturday, Colbert told Variety he’d “love” to headline the show again.
“Everyone who wasn’t in that room loved [the speech],” he joked to the publication, adding that “it would be an honor” to headline this year.
“I’d love to do it [again]. I mean, when else are you going to stand next to the president and make jokes? But no one will ever ask again,” he said.
Colbert’s 2006 speech was called the “most controversial Correspondents’ Dinner speech ever” by The Washington Post. His jabs to Bush still seem relevant to the current administration.
Colbert wasted no time then, roasting the President for relying on his gut rather than facts and data:
We’re not so different, he and I. We get it. We’re not brainiacs on the nerd patrol. We’re not members of the factinista. We go straight from the gut, right, sir? That’s where the truth lies, right down here in the gut. Do you know you have more nerve endings in your gut than you have in your head? You can look it up. I know some of you are going to say, ‘I did look it up, and that’s not true.’ That’s ‘cause you looked it up in a book.”
If you didn’t know better, you might think Colbert was talking about Trump and current political climate. The same bit could easily be applied to Trump’s false claims that “3 to 5 million” undocumented immigrants voted illegally in the election, despite the fact research has found that widespread voter fraud is not an issue.
Next time, look it up in your gut. I did. My gut tells me that’s how our nervous system works. Every night on my show, “The Colbert Report,” I speak straight from the gut, OK? I give people the truth, unfiltered by rational argument. I call it the “No Fact Zone.” Fox News, I hold a copyright on that term.”
Similarly, we all know Trump is obsessed with polls and approval ratings, but only if they work in his favor.
Though Colbert said this of then-President Bush nearly 11 years ago, the joke works almost too well today:
Now, I know there are some polls out there saying this man has a 32 percent approval rating. But guys like us, we don’t pay attention to the polls. We know that polls are just a collection of statistics that reflect what people are thinking in “reality.” And reality has a well-known liberal bias.
They say the more things change, the more they stay the same. Colbert tore into Bush for his administration’s complaint the media was too liberal and biased, and if you close your eyes, it’s not difficult to believe he’s talking about Trump, who declared the media to be the “opposition party,”
As excited as I am to be here with the president, I am appalled to be surrounded by the liberal media that is destroying America, with the exception of Fox News. Fox News gives you both sides of every story: the president’s side, and the vice president’s side.
But the rest of you, what are you thinking, reporting on NSA wiretapping or secret prisons in eastern Europe? Those things are secret for a very important reason: They’re super-depressing. And if that’s your goal, well, misery accomplished.
Colbert finished up his speech by “auditioning” for the role of White House press secretary. In the pre-recorded clip, he holds a press conference while portraying himself as combative and insulting to the journalists in the room, which makes us wonder whether Sean Spicer watched Colbert’s tape for inspiration.