NBC anchor and punchline: "SNL 40" did not give Brian Williams a free pass

Sensitivity around Williams being part of the NBC family did not stop celebs from cracking their best jokes.

By Colin Gorenstein

Published February 16, 2015 5:18PM (EST)

                    (NBC News)
(NBC News)

Much in the same way people speculated about how anchor-pal Jon Stewart might treat Brian Williams in the wake of public scrutiny, uncertainty hung over "SNL 40" like a fog: How would Brian Williams be treated — this time, by people within his own NBC family?

The answer was clear as ever last night: NBC (or the celebs in attendance, at least) wouldn't be letting him off that easy. One after another, celebs lined up to take their best swing at the NBC Nightly News anchor. Most of these moments came during the red carpet portion of the evening, however.

In an interview with Matt Lauer, Jim Carrey made things nice and uncomfortable for the TV host when he inquired about Brian Williams:

"Can I ask you a question, you guys? Where are you hiding Brian Williams? Where is he? I just want to say something in his defense: If the helicopter in front of me gets hit, I’m taking the story.”

Lauer tried his best to defuse the situation and signal with his watch that he needed to wrap up the interview (little luck there).

Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani was having a Brian Williams roast of his own with Carson Daly.

“I want to make sure, Brian Williams, and all this stuff, I want to make sure you understand that was his line," he told Daly. "He wrote it. I read it. I was not smart enough to have that line.”

Amy Poehler couldn't resist a Williams joke either, who quipped on the red carpet that being in the "Saturday Night Live" comedy trenches was “nothing like being in a war. Let me make that clear!”

On air, Jerry Seinfeld who led an "audience Q&A" of sorts, had to fulfill his own Brian Williams quota for the evening before getting down to business. He joked that Williams had told him that he hosted the show back in the '70s.

To feel the full impact of the jab, check out the full clip below in that signature Seinfeld voice of his:

Colin Gorenstein

Colin Gorenstein is Salon's assistant editor of internet and viral content. Follow @colingorenstein or email cgorenstein@salon.com.

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Amy Poehler Brian Williams Jerry Seinfeld Matt Lauer Video