Democracy Dies in Darkness

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Larry Wilmore's harshest burns in his White House correspondents’ dinner speech

By Emily Yahr

May 1, 2016 at 12:38 AM

Comedy Central star Larry Wilmore was the entertainer at the White House correspondents' dinner on Saturday night, where he delivered a roast full of insults for everyone: President Obama, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and of course, the media. There were some audible gasps in the room at some of this material, and we'll probably be debating for a while whether he went too far. Here are some of his harshest burns:

— "Welcome to Negro Night here in Washington. Or as Fox News will report, 'Two thugs disrupt elegant dinner in DC.'"

—  "Nice to be here, though, at the White House correspondents' dinner where, as you know, they're gonna call it next year, 'Donald Trump Hosts a Luxurious Dinner Paid For By Mexico.'"

Related: [For Obama’s final correspondents’ dinner, the obvious targets: Trump, Cruz and himself]

— "A little bit about me: I am a black man who replaced a white man who pretended to be a TV newscaster. So yeah, in that way, Lester Holt and I have a lot in common."

President Obama listens to comedian Larry Wilmore at the White House Correspondents’ Association annual dinner in Washington. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

— "I can't understand why everybody treats Donald Trump with kid gloves. Then I realize they're the only gloves that will fit his stupid little baby hands."

[The best lines from Obama's White House correspondents' dinner speech]

— To Obama: "I saw you hanging out with NBA players like Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors. That was cool. You know, it kind of makes sense too, because both of you like raining down bombs on people from long distances."

— "Speaking of drones, how is Wolf Blitzer still on television? Ask a follow up question! Hey Wolf, I'm ready to project tonight's winner: Anyone that isn't watching 'The Situation Room.'"

Related: [Complete coverage of the 2016 White House correspondents’ dinner]

— "I have to say about the first lady, it is so nice to have dinner with you. She is the epitome of grace, class, and poise. Isn't she? She really is. Not to be confused with future first gentleman Bill Clinton whose three favorite strippers are named Grace, Class, and Poise."

—  "Some of America's finest black journalists are here tonight. Don Lemon's here, too."

— "Hillary [Clinton] was flustered when a Black Lives Matter protester challenged her. I haven't seen a white lady that upset over being blindsided by a black person since Kelly Ripa."

— "The Treasury promised to put Harriet Tubman's face on the $10 bill, but now we have to wait until 2030 for the $20 bill. Man, women haven't been this deceived by a Bill since Cosby."

— "Chris Christie was supposed to be here tonight. I don't know if he made it. He RSVPd for three: He, his wife, and Donald Trump's dry-cleaning. I shouldn't make fun. Chris lost a lot of weight recently, didn't he? This is what he said, he said he just eliminated everything from his routine that wasn't necessary. Like his self-pride and dignity."

Related: [The single best joke told by every president, from Obama to Washington]

— "Man, everybody hates Ted Cruz. Even OJ Simpson said, 'That guy is just hard to like.'"

— "There's a joke going around the Internet that Ted Cruz is actually the Zodiac Killer. I'm not making that up. Come on, that is absurd. Some people actually liked the Zodiac Killer."

— "John Boehner came out of retirement and described Ted Cruz as Lucifer in the flesh. Lucifer. I mean that is not fair, man. Lucifer is horrible — but he's not the Zodiac Killer."

— "MSNBC is here tonight. Yep, which actually now stands for 'Missing a Significant Number of Black Correspondents'. . .  MSNBC got rid of so many black people, I thought Boko Haram was running that network."

— "You look terrible, Mr. President. No, you do, man. Look at you. Your hair is so white it tried to punch me at a Trump rally."

— "I am impressed with the people in this room. There are so many rich, powerful people in this room. You know, it's nice to finally match the names to the faces in the Panama Papers."

— "C-SPAN, of course, is carrying tonight's dinner live. . . Which is ironic because most of the viewers are not. It is true, guys. C-SPAN is the number-one network among people who died watching TV and no one's found them yet. No, but it is good to be on C-SPAN. I am glad I am not on your rival network 'No Input HDMI-1.'"

— "CNN's here tonight. I have not watched CNN for a long time. I used to watch it back when it was a news network. I don't know about you guys, but I cannot get enough of that CNN countdown clock. Now we can see exactly when they hit zero in the ratings."

— "I am confused with Bernie Sanders's stance on guns. He seems to be anti-gun everywhere except Vermont. Bernie doesn't care who gets a gun in Vermont. [fake whispers] There are no black people in Vermont."

— "Bernie got in trouble for saying Hillary Clinton was unqualified. She is extremely qualified. In fact, when you factor in all of her policy flip-flops, she is at least several of the most qualified candidates ever to run for president."

— "Donald Trump looks like the rich dad in every episode of 'Law & Order' where the frat kid accidentally strangles a hooker. Or as they say here at the Washington Hilton, Tuesdays."

— "The president and first lady will return to private life. It is going to be different for you guys. Nobody to wash the dishes or change the bed linens, sweep the floors. You are going to miss Joe Biden."

Related: [It’s not a party without Joe Biden: Scenes from the correspondents’ dinner aftermath]

— "I just got a note from the president saying that if you want another drink you should order it now because the bar will be closing down. Of course, he said the same thing about Guantanamo so you have at least another eight years."

More 2016 WHCD coverage:

I sat next to Donald Trump at the infamous 2011 White House correspondents' dinner

Barack Obama, the first alt-comedy president

President Obama's 10 most hilarious lines from the White House correspondents' dinners

The details on Michelle Obama's WHCD dress

Video: Obama's last correspondents' dinner speech, in 3 minutes

The complete transcript of President Obama's speech

Video: Larry Wilmore's correspondents' dinner speech, in 2 minutes

How Helen Mirren won the White House correspondents' dinner — before it even started

The night the White House upstaged White House correspondents' weekend


Emily Yahr covers pop culture and entertainment for the Post.

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