Samantha Bee brought out a special guest during her Not the White House Correspondents' Dinner event. Will Ferrell, reviving his impression of former President George W. Bush from his Saturday Night Live days, made a surprise appearance during the Saturday afternoon taping at the DAR Constitution Hall in Washington.
A gray-haired Ferrell received a standing ovation upon hitting the stage toward the end of the special. "For the longest time I was considered the worst president of all time - that has changed," Ferrell said as Bush to loud applause. "I needed eight years, a catastrophic flood, a war built on a lie and an economic disaster. The new guy only needed a hundred days.
"I come in second, and I'm fine by that," he added. "No one remembers second place - I don't even remember who played the New England Patriots at last year's Super Bowl."
He then addressed the press in the room. "You guys would always sneak up on me with 'gotcha' questions. Like, 'why are we going to war? Gotcha!' 'Why did you not respond to Hurricane Katrina? Gotcha!' 'What is your middle name? Gotcha!' I just wish someone would've told me all you gotta say is 'fake news' over and over again." He also added that the late political journalist Helen Thomas actually died in 1954 and was being rolled into the White House press as a corpse ever since, but "Helen Thomas asked better questions as a dead woman than any man at Fox News," where "they're firing anchors over there faster than you can say, 'Hey, hot chocolate!'"
Ferrell continued as Bush, "I never liked the press, but I took my lumps like every other president. The new guy has thin skin. He's what you'd call a snowflake. … He can't handle the heat. He's a weak man. He can't even sit in the White House, he runs down to the Mar-a-Lago," which "sounds like a name from a Tom Clancy novel: The Hunt for Mar-a-Lago." He then narrated a scene from the hypothetical book in which Trump discusses launching missiles as he "speared a sumptuous and beautiful slice of chocolate cake. … That's not a Tom Clancy novel, that really happened!"
Ferrell then saluted journalists for remaining steadfast in their industry. "It's like being on the Titanic. … The iceberg is coming, and you guys are hanging on to your journalistic integrity, playing your violin as the ship goes down. You should do what they're doing over at Fox and Friends: dressing up as women and children and stealing the lifeboats."
As for how to become a journalist today, he quipped, "You could also post racist angry tweets and hope Breitbart hires you."
Ferrell also poked fun at Bush's post-presidential career as a painter by debuting an unfinished piece of Donald Trump, kicking off his "Portraits of Not Courage" collection. "As you can see, I exhausted my palette of yellows and oranges. … It's a strange hue," he said, adding that he also started painting Trump's cabinet but "I still could not get my hands on enough white paint."
Before leaving the stage, Ferrell skewered Trump's style: "Here's a fashion update for you, Trump: The tie stops at the belt. A big long tie that goes past your mid-thigh does not mean what you think it means - it means 'I don't know anything about fashion and I should not design my own ties.'"
His final three words of advice: "Eat a salad."
The special airs Saturday at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on TBS.