After watching all of those speeches, by the time Cecily Strong started her speech at the White House Correspondents' Dinner on Saturday night, everyone was more than ready. That's when things got a little awkward, by some accounts, and by others, really, really dark. There may or may not have been some tense silence punctuated only by chewing noises and clinking glasses. Having to do a stand-up set in a crowded room full of political figures and celebrities eating fancy appetizers probably isn't the easiest task in the world, so in Strong's defense, the whole thing was a weird situation, and many fans are applauding her for taking a risk in a less-than-welcoming room.
The vibe in the room only seemed to get more tense when Strong made a joke that referenced the hit public radio podcast Serial . The joke was doomed from the start, and it didn't do well at all for a number of reasons, namely because it seemed to make light of Adnan Syed's incarceration, when the central theme of Serial questioned whether he was wrongfully convicted and he is reportedly in the process of getting an appear. Strong joked to podcast host and creator Sarah Koenig: “Sarah, I’m so sorry you weren’t able to get your plus-one out of jail in time.” Yikes. Yikes all around.
But Strong may have saved herself with a "good/sad/awful" bit of commentary about racial violence. "Let's give it up for the Secret Service," Strong said, "the only law enforcement agency in the country that will get in trouble if a black man gets shot." Rough, but it needed to be said. It's hard to gauge exactly how the audience took the joke since it was such a large crowd, but the response to her speech as a whole varied from quiet discomfort to full-out applause. As one user put it, Strong "went for the jugular." But sometimes, that's what a comedian needs to do.
Here's how some viewers watching at home felt about her more controversial material