‘SNL’ Star Colin Jost Ends Brutal Roast With Heartfelt Biden Endorsement

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Although Colin Jost is no stranger to solo stand-up comedy, most of America recognizes him best as part of a duo. He’s famous for being the straight-edged “Weekend Update” co-anchor on Saturday Night Live, working alongside the much raunchier, more dangerous Michael Che. How would Jost fare on his own? The answer, it turns out, is perfectly fine. His roast at Saturday night’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner was nowhere near as brutal as Stephen Colbert’s famous WHCD roast in 2006, but it was certainly entertaining.

Jost predictably focused a lot on the speculation that President Joe Biden might be too old to run for re-election, starting off his speech with, “I have to admit, it’s not easy following President Biden… I mean, it’s not always easy following what he’s saying.”

The comedian also referenced Biden’s viral stumbling on the steps of Air Force One, and made light of the accusations that Biden was high on amphetamines during his recent energetic State of the Union address. “The last time I was in D.C., I left my cocaine at the White House,” Jost said, in what initially seemed like a joke about Jost’s Republican demeanor, before adding, “Luckily, the president was able to put it to good use for his State of the Union. I’m kidding, of course, the president doesn’t call it cocaine—he calls it high speed rail.”

Lest anyone think he was too hard on Biden, however, Jost quickly pointed out the double-standard in the way the two presidential candidates’ age is portrayed in the media. “I would like to point out, it’s after 10 p.m. Sleepy Joe is still awake, while Donald Trump has spent the past week falling asleep in court every morning.” Jost later added, “I’m not saying both candidates are old, but you know Jimmy Carter is out there thinking, ‘I could maybe win this thing.’”

Jost’s hardest hitting jokes were about Biden’s poll numbers, as he expressed frustration and incredulity over how the race was still so tight. “The Republican candidate for president owes half a billion in fines for bank fraud and is currently spending his days farting himself awake during a porn star hush money trial, and the race is tied?”

In a far blunter joke, Jost told the audience, “My ‘Weekend Update’ co-anchor, Michael Che, was going to join me here tonight, but in solidarity with President Biden, I decided to lose all my Black support.” The line received some applause (and plenty of groans) from the audience, so Jost added, “Che told me to say that, and I’m just realizing I was set up.”

Jost also ridiculed a bunch of major newspapers in his roast, explaining how he “forgot” that the New York Times “do stuff in addition to puzzles.” He reminded audiences that Fox News CEO Rupert Murdoch has recently stepped down, adding, “Which is strange—I didn’t think there was a step down from Fox News.” He mused on how AI might replace most of the journalists in the audience, and how puzzles like Wordle were the only things keeping many papers afloat.

One of his darkest jokes, the one that genuinely seemed to stray into dangerous territory, touched briefly on the recent college protests surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “The Correspondents Association provides scholarships to promising young journalism students, who may one day be sent off to cover dangerous geopolitical hotspots like Columbia University,” he quipped, to muted laughter.

Much better received by the audience was his later joke cashing in on O.J. Simpson’s recent passing. “Obama got Bin Laden. You got O.J.,” he told Biden. “And by the way, now that O.J.’s dead, who is the new frontrunner for Trump’s VP? Is it Diddy?”

Some of this might’ve seemed in bad taste, but luckily for Jost, the first comedian to perform at the dinner was Matt Friend, a rising stand-up comedian who came out swinging with a rapid-fire collection of shock-value punchlines, most of which flopped hard. “I’m on fire right now like the guy outside the courthouse,” he joked in a Trump impression, next to audience members who looked like they were being held hostage. “I’m killing this dinner harder than Kristi Noem kills the puppies.”

Jost’s roast seemed downright wholesome in comparison, especially when he ended it with a touching tribute to his late grandfather William Kelly. He described him as a “Staten Island firefighter” and a pillar to his community. “He voted for you,” Jost told Biden, “and the reason that he voted for you is because you’re a decent man. My grandpa voted for decency, and decency is why we’re all here tonight.”

President Biden covered a lot of the same points when he took the stage, taking care to address concerns about his age and spin it into a weak point against his opponent. “Yes, age is an issue: I’m a grown man running against a 6-year-old,” he said, to laughter and applause. “I really feel great. I’m campaigning all over the country. Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina. I’ve always done well in the original 13 colonies.”

Biden gave a nod to his evolving public persona over his career, pointing out that SNL has cast an almost-unprecedented eight different actors to play him over the course of the show. “And who the hell says I’m not a real job creator?”

The president also responded to criticisms that he’s too standoffish with the press. He called out The New York Times for their recent statement accusing him of “actively and effectively avoid[ing] questions from independent journalists,” responding “Hey, if that’s what it takes to get the New York Times to say I’m active and effective, I’m for it.”

His main focus, much like Jost’s, was on underlining just how much worse of a candidate Donald Trump is, and how the election shouldn’t be nearly as close as the current polling indicates. “[Trump] said he wants to be a dictator on day one and so much more. He tells supporters he is their revenge and retribution. When in God’s name have you ever heard of another president say something like that?”

Biden finished his thoughts on the election with a somber plea: “We have to take this seriously. Eight years ago, it could have written off as just Trump talk, but no longer, not after January 6. I’m sincerely not asking of you to take sides, but asking [you] to rise up to the seriousness of the moment.”

This post was originally published on Daily Beast

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