Larry Wilmore's speech at the annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner on Saturday clearly made many attendees uncomfortable. Sure, he got some laughs for his more absurd wisecracks — like a running joke about Ted Cruz and the Zodiac Killer — but he often seemed to unsettle a room full of journalists, such as when he essentially accused Fox News Channel and MSNBC of racism and took shots at Wolf Blitzer and Brian Williams.

The Washington Post's Reliable Source blog recapped Wilmore's harshest burns here.

But if the comedian is worried that he bombed — and he might not be, because the reaction was pretty predictable — he can take comfort in the eventual vindication of a stinging correspondents' dinner address 10 years ago by the man whose Comedy Central time slot he took over: Stephen Colbert.

https://twitter.com/brianstelter/status/726605216930512896

Colbert, like Wilmore, went for the jugular. The theme of his monologue was that journalists had been too soft in their coverage of President George W. Bush's foreign policy, behaving more like lapdogs than watchdogs as Bush led the United States into Middle East conflicts. And, like Wilmore, Colbert heard grumbling and even some booing as he delivered his punch lines.

He summarized the routine of Bush decision-making and media coverage thusly: "Make, announce, type. Just put 'em through a spell check and go home."

The press corps was generally not amused. Here's how Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen described Colbert's performance at the time:

Colbert took a swipe at Bush's Iraq policy, at domestic eavesdropping, and he took a shot at the news corps for purportedly being nothing more than stenographers recording what the Bush White House said. He referred to the recent staff changes at the White House, chiding the media for supposedly repeating the cliche "rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic" when he would have put it differently: "This administration is not sinking. This administration is soaring. If anything, they are rearranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg." A mixed metaphor, and lame as can be.
Why are you wasting my time with Colbert, I hear you ask. Because he is representative of what too often passes for political courage, not to mention wit, in this country.

Whether a comedian is funny is largely a matter of personal taste. People who thought Colbert was lame back then might still feel that way today.

But in hindsight, few would disagree with the underlying critique of Colbert's satire. Bush invaded Iraq on the premise that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction that, in fact, he did not. It is now widely felt within the media that we ought to have viewed the White House's claims with a bit more skepticism — to have demanded more evidence and more justification for war.

So, chin up, Larry Wilmore. A decade from now, the same journalists who bristled at your commentary on Saturday might look back and say, "You know what? He kind of had a point."