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TBS host Samantha Bee had no shortage of targets on Friday night, taking aim at President Donald Trump, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Fox News hosts like Tucker Carlson in the second edition of her Not The White House Correspondents’ Dinner, taped in front of a live audience in Washington, D.C.
Bee mocked the president for sitting out Saturday night’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner, choosing to attend a political rally instead. “Tonight, I want to focus on what a fucking coward he is,” she told an adoring crowd at DAR Constitution Hall. “Imagine being the most powerful man in the world and you can’t listen to a comedian razz you for five minutes?”
She rattled off a list of people who are braver than the president, including Christine Blasey Ford, generating one of the night’s biggest applauses.
At the end of the taping, which will air during the dinner, Bee brought on actor Robert De Niro, who called the president an “unrepentant, lying scum bag.” (He struggled to read from the teleprompter, saying at one point, “Bring that down, I’m sorry.”)
Bee called back to the massive backlash that comedian Michelle Wolf faced last year for performing at the dinner, after conservatives accused her of mocking Sanders’ appearance. On Friday night, Bee said Sanders — on the inside — is “hideous as a pin worm in the anus” and is “head-to-toe taint meat.” (A robot version of Sanders, an “on-site censor,” graced the stage.)
She addressed the president directly, “on the off chance he’s watching our show because Tucker Carlson ran out of racism or something.”
Carlson’s colleague, news anchor Shepard Smith, was dubbed “The Loneliest Boy at Fox News.” In a cameo, West Wing actor Bradley Whitford told Smith, “Here’s a piece of advice: get out.” (New Yorker correspondent Jane Mayer received The Bad Bitch Award.)
The event was a mishmash of politics jokes and journalism jokes, with Bee at one point singing a R&B slow-jam about investigative reporters, including The Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold. “There’s only one thing I can’t resist, that’s a good investigative journalist,” she sang. “I like it AP, Chicago, or doggy style. You know my favorite centerfold is an oiled up David Fahrenthold.”
But Bee, who talked to The Hollywood Reporter last week about the importance of a free press, also nodded to the current media moment and the broader climate of anti-media hostility. “A number of people in this room received bomb threats from a man inspired by Donald Trump,” she told the journalists in the crowd. “Thank you for holding the president and all of us accountable.”
Lightening the mood, she said, “Given how many of you have been laid off lately, we also want to feed you.”
The show opened with a send-up to the movie Alien, including guest appearances by actress Sigourney Weaver and longtime Today show host Katie Couric. “I’d rather get another televised colonoscopy than cover the 2020 election,” Couric said.
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