The White House Correspondents' Dinner has always involved the host poking fun at the president and the president poking fun at the media. But with Donald Trump declining his invite to the annual event, the power dynamic has shifted. Stepping in to point out the absurdity of that is Samantha Bee, the host of TBS' Full Frontal. In her one-hour special Not The White House Correspondents' Dinner, Bee is the ringmaster of a satirical circus, featuring her own comedy plus surprise performances from some celebrity guests. There's no shortage of material for a comedian to mine from when it comes to the election and Trump's first 100 days as president. The best jokes from Not The White House Correspondents' Dinner are timely, edgy, and, really, cathartic.
Since the show taped early on Saturday, news outlets are already circulating the host's quips online, ahead of the official 10 p.m. ET air time. And, while I will certainly still be tuning in to watch her deliver these one-liners IRL, I have to say that reading them ahead of time is a great way to pass time waiting for the show to start. Here are some of the best, thanks to reporters like those from USA Today, Vanity Fair, Vulture, and more who were on the scene and let us get a sneak peek at her and her guest stars' material.
Passing The Buck
"But as I promised you in the invitation, at a later date, I will get Mexico to pay for all your drinks." — Bee, mocking Trump's insistence that the country will pay for a border wall.
In The Press Room
Fake reporter: "Ms. Bee organized Not the Correspondents' Dinner on the same night as the actual Correspondents' Dinner. Is she trying to undermine the legitimacy of both the press and this president?"
Allison Janney as The West Wing's C.J. Cregg: "No, Ms. Bee is trying to undermine the legitimacy of just one of those two things."
Bush Is Vindicated
Will Ferrell resurrected his Saturday Night Live George W. Bush impersonation for the event:
"History's proved to be kinder to me than many of you thought it would. I was considered the worst president of all time — that has changed. I needed eight years, a catastrophic flood, a war built on a lie, an economic disaster — the new guy needed 100 days."
"Journalism school is where you go so you can be a journalist. Or you can also just post angry, racist tweets and hope Breitbart hires you."
"It’s a portrait of Donald Trump. As you can see I’ve exhausted my palette of yellows and oranges. It's a strange hue. I got a new name for that color. They should just call it Mar-a-Lago."
The Criticism Is Coming From Inside The House
"With so much excellent reporting out there, why do 96 percent of Americans believe the media should be strung up by its own bowels? I don’t know —maybe because when they turn on the TV looking for news, all they can find are journalists trying to referee a pack of well-coiffed message robots, shouting at each other all day with increasingly tiny boxes." — Bee taking the 24-hour news media to task.
Schrodinger's "Fake News"
"A fact introduces a kind of quantum uncertainty. If you put a fact in a box along with Trump’s Twitter feed, you never know what might come out ... There’s no great epistemological debate here. There’s just a bunch of turds making sh*t up." — Steve Buscemi uses Schrodinger's famous cat thought experiment to explain this administration's attitude towards the press.
Education Is #1
"You ever notice Betsy DeVos and a duffel bag of orphans’ bones are never seen in the same room together? Makes you think." — Billy Eichner roasts Trump's Secretary Of Education.
A Very Exclusive & All-Inclusive Event
"Congratulations, Mr. President, you sold people on lies, you’re basically the Presidential version of the Fyre Festival." - Bee, comparing Trump to the past weekend's failure of a luxury music festival.
He Seems Familiar
"Trump is like that weird high school friend of yours that shows up at the party but doesn’t bring any beer, drinks everyone’s liquor, is weird to all the girls, and on the way out doesn’t condemn hate crimes." — Kumail Nanjiani on the president's resemblance to someone you really shouldn't have hung out with when you were a teenager.
A Throwback Burn
"The president says the most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’ That’s funny. I thought they were: ‘You have AIDS and the government doesn’t care.'" — Bee imagines herself performing at the WHCD during Ronald Reagan's time in office.
A Future Burn
"I think we all owe President Pence a debt of gratitude for bravely stepping into the role after Trump got his head stuck in that jar of honey. What a tragedy. — Bee imagines herself performing at the WHCD if Mike Pence ascends to the presidency.
Free Anderson Cooper
"Zucker’s greatest success besides The Apprentice — which, by the way, thanks for that — is filling airtime between car crashes with a reality show loosely based on the news where loyal-partisan hacks make us measurably dumber by spewing mendacious nonsense while a hologram of Anderson Cooper stand by ... Anderson is a smart reporter! Give him his black T-shirt back and put him in front of a natural disaster!" — Bee on CNN president Jeff Zucker and news-as-entertainment.
An Alternate Universe
"Because of you, I can tell my daughters they can do anything, and that sexism won’t hold them back. The world will not magnify their faults and ignore their virtues because of their gender. That time has truly passed. No hard feelings, men. If there’s one message that echoes from this dinner, let it be that men’s rights are human rights, and human rights are men’s rights." — Bee envisions herself hosting Hillary Clinton's White House Correspondents' Dinner in an alternate timeline.
The White House Correspondents Dinner may be subdued this year, but Samantha Bee and her guests did not come to play.