Biden stole the White House correspondents’ dinner by dishing it out and taking it in return

And, yes, there were plenty of jokes throughout the evening about "Stormy weather" and killing dogs

Published April 28, 2024 12:07PM (EDT)

President Joe Biden greets comedian Colin Jost during the White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) dinner at the Washington Hilton, in Washington, DC, on April 27, 2024. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
President Joe Biden greets comedian Colin Jost during the White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) dinner at the Washington Hilton, in Washington, DC, on April 27, 2024. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

The White House correspondents’ dinner, also known as the “nerd prom,” is a century-old event where journalists, politicians and celebrities share laughs over friendly jabs and food — held again at the Hilton Washington, in Washington D.C. 

The comedian on site, "SNL" alum Colin Jost, had some competition during the packed event: President Joe Biden, who came correct in full "Joe Cool" mode. Aviators likely on hand to shield himself from any heat coming his way via the jokesters in the room. And both of them did way better than Matt Friend, a warm-up comedian who got crickets and then, worse, groans from the crowd with way too soon jokes about the Trump courthouse self-immolator and Kristi Noem shooting her puppy. 

The president had the crowd in stitches when he put out the disclaimer that all attendees, including the reporters from Fox News who were in attendance, had to be vaccinated and boosted. 

Perhaps they were there for their free meal, Jost later suggested.

“It is the end of an era. Rupert Murdoch stepped down at Fox News, which is strange,” Jost said. “I didn’t think there was a step down from Fox News.”

The jokes of the night were centered around age, Trump, and the election. All of these were rather easy jabs when the two candidates running for president this year are at least ten years older than the average retirement age in the States. Plus, one of them is the first former president to be a defendant in a criminal trial. 

With the election fast approaching in six “extremely long” months from now, Jost gave the audience a snapshot of a perplexing reality.

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“The Republican candidate for president owes half a billion in fines for bank fraud and is currently spending his days farting himself awake during a porn star hush-money trial,” Jost summarized. “And the race is tied!” 

Jost is right. According to recent national poll averages taken on April 25th, 40.9 percent of likely voters would support Biden and 41.6 percent would support Trump, ABC news reported. What's more, Trump seems to be leading in swing states. 

“The candidate who is a famous New York City playboy took abortion rights away and the guy who is trying to give you your abortion rights back is an 80-year-old Catholic,” Jost pointed out. “How does that make sense?”

Throughout the night, most of Jost’s jokes were met with polite chuckles, some claps, and occasional pity laughs. Biden, who said Jost’s wife, actor Scarlett Johansson, was funnier than her husband, outperformed the seasoned comedian. Perhaps because he managed to deliver his material without looking at his notes.

The president took Jost’s jokes with good humor and furthered them with self-deprecating playfulness. He started by saying it had been some time since he last delivered this speech, which worried his wife, First Lady Jill Biden. 

“I told her, 'don’t worry it’s just like riding a bike,'” Biden said. “She said that’s what I am worried about.”

Leaning into the age issue as hard as anyone else, he went on to joke, “Of course, the 2024 elections are in full swing and, yes, age is an issue,” he said. “I’m a grown man, running against a six-year-old.”

His opponent in the presidential race, who has a penchant for bad-mouthing Biden, was his target for what suddenly became a full-fledged Trump roast. 

“I had a great stretch since the State of the Union, but Donald has had a few tough days lately. You might call it Stormy weather,” Biden said, and added, “What the hell.”

Of course, no one was spared, including the U.S. representative and gun rights activist Lauren Boebert who, funnily enough, attended Rifle High School. 

“Being here is a reminder that folks think what’s going on in Congress is political theater. That’s not true,” Biden said amidst chuckles. “If Congress were theater, they’d have thrown out Lauren Boebert a long time ago.” A dig on her "Beetlejuice" vaping/groping scandal

His next target was the media. “To all my friends in the press and Fox News, some of you complain that I don’t take enough of your questions,” Biden said. “No comment.” In light of the recent flak the president is receiving over his relationship with the press, this landed well. 

“Of course, the New York Times issued a statement blasting me for, quote, actively and effectively avoiding independent journalists. Hey, if that’s what it takes to get the New York Times to say I’m active and effective, I’m for it.”

The president concluded his speech with one last jab at his opposing party that led to an uproar of applause. 

“I’m not really here to roast the GOP. That’s not my style. Besides, there’s nothing I can say about the GOP that Kevin McCarthy hasn’t already put on tape.”

By Nandika Chatterjee

Nandika Chatterjee is a News Fellow at Salon. In 2022 she moved to New York after graduating from the University of Illinois, Urbana- Champaign where she pursued a B. A in Communication and a B.S. in Psychology. She is currently an M.A. in Journalism candidate at NYU, pursuing the Magazine and Digital Storytelling program, and was previously an Editorial Fellow at Adweek.

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Donald Trump Jill Biden Joe Biden Kevin Mccarthy Lauren Boebert White House Correspondents' Dinner