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Indian American comic Hasan Minhaj roasts Trump: 9 of his best jabs from White House Correspondents’ Dinner

Comic Hasan Minhaj became the first Indian American on Saturday to headline the entertainment section of the annual White House correspondents dinner.

world Updated: Apr 30, 2017 18:28 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hasan Minhaj,White House correspondents dinner,Donald Trump presidency
Hasan Minhaj (R) of Comedy Central walks past veteran Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward (C) and Reuters Editor-in-Chief Steve Adler (L) as he takes the lectern to perform at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner in Washington.(REUTERS)

Comic Hasan Minhaj became the first Indian American on Saturday to headline the entertainment section of the annual White House correspondents dinner. He also became the first in recent memory to roast the leader of “our country”, a tradition, in absentia.

Here are his 9 best jabs from the White House Correspondents Dinn:

1. “The leader of our country is not here because he lives in Moscow, it’s a long flight .. and hard for Vlad to make it … as for the other guy … I think he is in Pennsylvania because he cannot take a joke”

2. “The president didn’t show up. Because Donald Trump doesn’t care about free speech. The man who tweets everything that comes into his head doesn’t show up to celebrate the amendment that allows him to do it”

3. “Historically, the president usually performs at the Correspondents’ Dinner, but I think I speak for all of us when I say he’s done far too much bombing this month”

4. “Bill O’Reilly has been fired. But then you gave him a $25 million severance package, making it the only package he won’t force a woman to touch”

5“I do not see Steve Bannon”, he said peering into the hall, looking for him in the audience. He repeated the phrase, each time slowing down the words ‘not see’, eventually giving the effect of saying “Nazi Steve Bannon”

6. “As a Muslim, I like to watch Fox News for the same reason I like to play ‘Call of Duty’. “Sometimes, I like to turn my brain off and watch people say terrible things about my family”

7. “Mike Pence wanted to be here tonight, but his wife wouldn’t let him because apparently one of you ladies is ovulating.”

8. “Jeff Sessions couldn’t be here tonight; he was busy doing a pre-Civil War re-enactment. On his RSVP, he just wrote “no,” just “nooo!” – which happens to be his second-favourite N-word.”

9. “Even Hillary Clinton couldn’t be here tonight. I mean, she could have been here, but I think someone told her the event was in Wisconsin and Michigan.”

Minhaj is a correspondent on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah”.

In addition to the roasts , the line that came to define his riff, as the one most cited and bounced around on social media was this: “Only in America can a first-generation Indian-American Muslim kid get on this stage and make fun of the president.”

The last time Trump attended the dinner, in 2011, he was skewered by President Barack Obama and then host Comedian Seth Myers — it was the same night that US navy SEALs found and killed Osama bin Laden in his Pakistani hideout. On Saturday, he was at a rally in Pennsylvania to mark his 100th day in office.

Most of Trump’s administration also skipped the event in solidarity with the president, who has repeatedly accused the press of mistreatment. The president used his campaign-style gathering to again lambaste the media.

“I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles away,” he told a crowd, calling out The New York Times, CNN and MSNBC by name.

According to tradition, the president of the day gets to lob around a few jokes, mock himself (not herself yet), his aides, journalists, rivals and critics. It’s all good fun till it gets nasty, and nasty it can get as that night in 2011.

First Published: Apr 30, 2017 17:27 IST