When TBS’ Full Frontal announced its Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner event, the world did not yet know that President Donald Trump would be skipping the actual Correspondents’ Dinner. Nonetheless, the show went on as planned on Saturday, with Samantha Bee and surprise guests coming together to lampoon the Commander-in-Chief and to raise money for the Committee to Protect Journalists.
The broadcast began with a pre-taped cold open featuring Emmy winner Allison Janney, who reprised her role West Wing press secretary C.J. Cregg (embedded above).
“You people are monsters,” she said, speaking directly to an ever-growing alt-right press. “Yes, we have freedom of speech and of the press in this country, so if a morally bankrupt gang of racist bloggers, anarchists, dominionist radio hosts and rancid women haters want to call themselves journalists, no one can stop you. But you are part of the reason no one trusts the real press… You are the dregs of a free society; we have to let you exist but we do not have to listen to you.”
Bee then took to the stage, where she acknowledged those in attendance from the “failing New York Times” and the “failing pile of garbage BuzzFeed.” She continued to lampoon the media throughout the shindig, asking why anyone bothers to fact-check President Trump anymore “as if he might some day get embarrassed.” She later spent an entire segment chastising CNN for its “pundit infestation.”
Additional highlights included an In Memoriam segment dedicated to Fox News’ “career sexual predators” Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly — aka those we lost too late — and a mini-Trump roast featuring comedians Billy Eichner, Kumail Nanjiani, Patton Oswalt and Retta, as well as legendary sitcom auteurs Norman Lear and Carl Reiner.
In the second half-hour, surprise guest Will Ferrell took to the stage as former president George W. Bush, a role he famously originated on Saturday Night Live.
“How do you like me now?” a cigarette-smoking Dubya asked the audience. “For the longest time, I was considered the worst president of all time. That has changed.” He also put down the press for all the years they would “sneak up” on him with questions like, “‘Why are we going to war? Gotcha!’ ‘Why did you not respond faster to Hurricane Katrina? Gotcha!'”
Near the end, Star Trek legend George Takei arrived on the scene in a pre-taped short, where he presented Bee with a film reel that revealed an alternate reality. In it, Hillary Clinton had been sworn in as president, the Patriots had lost the Super Bowl, Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” won Album of the Year and every copy of La La Land had spontaneously combusted. Meanwhile, Trump, having lost the election, went on to launch the cable news network Trump TV.
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