Roy Wood Jr. wanted to achieve two things during his Saturday night White House Correspondents’ Dinner speech: laughter and reparations, as he told NPR earlier this week. He got half of his wish.
On Saturday evening, Wood fired some harmless shots at Joe Biden, largely aimed at his age (“The retirement age went up to 64 when he rose two years. [in France] They rebelled because they did not want to work until the age of 64. Meanwhile in America, an 80-year-old man begs us to work for another four years.”) But he Really He grinned roughly at a few reporters who weren’t in the room at the Washington Hilton Hotel as the camera panned to capture the disturbances.
Wood began to fry Biden, who had just left the podium, warning that he looked like he had left behind a handful of classified documents. Later Daily Show The reporter thought it fair to introduce herself to the audience, because “Half this room thinks I’m Kenan Thompson, the other half thinks I’m Louis Armstong,” Wood guessed, “President Biden thinks I’m the father. family matterS.”
During his nearly 30-minute speech, Wood targeted a wide variety of people and topics, and with a personal and deep respect for authentic journalism, he was able to deftly convey what was essentially a searing roast of the biggest political headlines at the time.
“An often overlooked purpose of tonight’s dinner is to award scholarships to students who have excelled in journalism,” Wood said. “These brave young souls are the future of the industry, and I want to stand here and congratulate tonight’s top scholarship recipient: Arizona State senior George Santos.” Unfortunately, the volleyball champion/congressman from New York was not in attendance.
Wood spoke of a “turbulent time in the media”, citing NPR, Axios, BuzzFeed News and several other organizations that have seen massive layoffs. But he also noted that the scandals were a major source of unemployment for some, including “The Untouchable Tucker Carlson.”
“But I want you to know to Tucker’s team that I know how you feel,” Wood said. “I work Daily Show. So I was taken by surprise when the host of a fake news program suddenly left.” The comedian specifically addressed Biden when he suggested that it would be a good thing for the president to have Carlson back on the air, “because there are millions of Americans right now who don’t even know why they hate you.”
He later scolded CNN for firing Don Lemon before he had a chance to uncover a few more scandals, suggesting that scandals were just what a news network should look for in their on-air personalities. “Yeah, Don Lemon was a diva and he said a few women were sullen. But this is a Fox News promotion,” Wood said.
For a master class on How to Create a Scandal, Wood suggested we all look to Donald Trump: “Following Donald Trump scandals is like watching them. Star wars movies,” he said of the former president. “To understand the first, you have to watch the third. Then you won’t miss the second because there’s an easter egg for the fifth. Donald Trump is the only politician whose scandals get spinoffs on Disney+.”
Still, Wood took the time to do what few showrunners had done before him. completely We celebrate the journalists who uncover the stories that changed our world. Wood’s father, Roy Wood Sr., was a pioneering Black radio journalist who was one of the founders of the National Black Network, America’s first Black-owned national radio network that created content for Black Americans.
“The industry that encompasses all these scandals is not immune to them,” Wood said, taking a more serious tone. “The problem with good media is that most people don’t. can afford O. All basic, fair and nuanced reporting is tucked behind a paywall. People can’t afford the rent, people can’t buy food – not healthy food. They cannot afford education. Surely they can’t afford to pay for the truth.”
“Say whatever you want about a conspiracy theory, but at least it’s affordable,” Wood continued. “If you’re not Alex Jones, then it’ll cost you about $900 million.”
But Wood’s plea was sincere: “People can’t afford the truth, but you can’t all afford to go and find the truth for free. The work you do as a journalist is important, necessary, and dangerous… Good journalism comes at a price, that’s the truth.”
Wood paid tribute to Evan Gershkovich The Wall Street Gazette journalist currently in prison on charges of espionage for reporting in Russia. Gershkovich’s incarceration and the importance of the First Amendment were sentiments Biden reiterated during his time on the podium when he said that today’s press “is not your father’s press 20 years ago…but it is still absolutely necessary and important.” and noted: “I believe in the First Amendment. [And] not just because my good friend Jimmy Madison wrote it.
While Biden isn’t afraid to voice many concerns about this era, he hasn’t backed down when it comes to his political rivals. As he sent off the crowd, he warned them to be safe and act responsibly. “If you’re confused or confused,” said the President, “you’re either drunk or Marjorie Taylor Greene.”
For more, listen to Roy Wood Jr. on The Last Laugh podcast.