Over the weekend, Daily Show correspondent Hasan Minhaj took on the toughest gig in comedy by hosting this year’s Trump-free White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and like his performance at last year’s Radio and Television Correspondents’ Association Dinner, Minhaj did an excellent job roasting the press while also getting some jabs in about the Trump administration. “In the age of Trump, I know that you guys have to be more perfect now more than ever, because you are how the president gets his news. Not from advisors, not from experts, not from intelligence agencies – you guys,” Minhaj told the crowd of reporters. “So that’s why you gotta be on your A game. You gotta be twice as good. You can’t make any mistakes. Because when one of you messes up, he blames your entire group. And now you know what it feels like to be a minority.” Minhaj also addressed Trump’s absence from the event near the end of his speech:
But I was asked to not roast the president and the administration in their absentia, and I completely understand that. We are in a very strange situation where there’s a very combative relationship between the press and the president. But now that you guys are minorities, just for this moment, you might understand the position I was in, and it’s the same position a lot of minority kids feel in this country. You know, do I come up here and just try to fit in and not ruffle any feathers, or do I say how I really feel? Because this event is about celebrating the First Amendment and free speech. Free speech is the foundation of an open and liberal democracy from college campuses to the White House. Only in America can a first-generation, Indian-American Muslim kid get on this stage and make fun of the president – the orange man behind the Muslim ban. And it’s a sign to the rest of the world. It’s this amazing tradition that shows the entire world that even the president is not beyond the reach of the First Amendment. But the president didn’t show up, because Donald Trump doesn’t care about free speech. The man who tweets everything that enters his head refuses to acknowledge the amendment that allows him to do it. Think about it, it’s almost – what is it, 11? It’s 11pm right now. In four hours, Donald Trump will be tweeting about how bad Nicki Minaj bombed at this dinner, and he’ll be doing it completely sober. And that’s his right. And I’m proud that all of us are here tonight to defend that right, even if the man in the White House never would.
Watch Minhaj’s full speech above.