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The traditional White House Correspondents’ Dinner was held again in Washington last Saturday, after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic. It is the first celebration to be attended by the incumbent president, Joe Biden, after Donald Trump refused to attend during his term in office. The master of ceremonies was comedian and Daily Show host Trevor Noah, who was very benign to the current administration.
The most commented moment of the evening was when Joe Biden had a hearty laugh at a joke Trevor Noah made about the economic hardships American families are going through. “Since you’ve come into office, things are really looking up. Gas is up, rent is up, food is up.”
Many opponents have considered Joe Biden’s laughter as a mockery and contempt for the people affected by the consequences of the current administration’s economic policies, while Democrats see in his attitude a great sense of humor and a laudable ability to take criticism. After all, this dinner has always been a light-hearted event, characterized by its jocular and relaxed atmosphere, and in which humor serves as a catharsis for the problems of the moment.
To me, what’s really striking (and troubling) is just the sentence before Trevor Noah’s punchline: “I think everyone will agree that it’s actually nice to once again have a president who’s not afraid to come to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and hear jokes about himself. I’ll be honest, if you didn’t come, I totally would have understood because these people have been so hard on you, which I don’t get. I really don’t.”
What kind of world does Trevor Noah live in to think that the press is being hard on Joe Biden? Especially when compared to the treatment of his immediate predecessor in office.
Just look at the uproar that ensued when Trump mistakenly tweeted “covfefe” — calling him nothing short of insane and unfit for office — and compare it to the absolute silence of the press every time (and they are not few) that Joe Biden has a slip of the tongue, blunders or is clearly disoriented.
Trevor seems to be apologizing for making such a soft joke. Perhaps the softest thing that could have been done about the short time in office of Joe Biden. It is somewhat reminiscent of the case of Chris Rock at the Oscars, who, if he can be accused of anything, is of having chosen the most benevolent joke of all those available on Will Smith’s wife.
It does not seem that Trevor Noah adheres to this unanimous magnanimous attitude of the progressive press with the Democratic president for fear of a reaction similar to that of Will Smith, but rather because he truly believes that he does not deserve more criticism, nor the slightest mockery. In fact, in the only joke minimally critical of the current president, he actually comes down harder on Donald Trump in his preamble than he does on Biden himself in his punch line.
Correspondents’ Dinner with Trevor Noah, another missed opportunity to laugh at Joe Biden
Benevolence towards the left is the usual tonic of the cultural and entertainment elites, while against conservatives it seems to be worth everything and nothing is ever enough. And if they take it badly, they are also criticized for it.
In fact, to the delight of all the Progressive representatives present at the dinner, Trevor Noah’s most acidic and corrosive jokes were directed at Republicans such as Kellyanne Conway, Madison Cawthorn, Donald Trump, Fox News hosts and Ron DeSantis.
Interestingly, Trevor Noah mentioned Ron DeSantis as being among the attendees, when in fact he did not attend the dinner – just as Donald Trump did during his tenure – because he feared the event would be a lock-in.
Both Trump and DeSantis have been criticized for their lack of a sense of humor, and even want this to be seen as a kind of confirmation of their authoritarian traits, because as we should all know, the correspondents’ dinner is to celebrate the healthy habit of being able to laugh at those in power, and that they too can laugh at themselves.
It is a sign of political maturity to be able to laugh at Republicans when Republicans govern, just as it is a sign of political maturity to be able to laugh… at Republicans when Democrats govern.
Perhaps, after all, it is not so wrong to criticize Joe Biden for his excessive sense of humor in laughing at the vicissitudes of Americans.
Ignacio Manuel García Medina, Business Management teacher. Artist and lecturer specialized in Popular Culture for various platforms. Presenter of the program "Pop Libertario" for the Juan de Mariana Institute. Lives in the Canary Islands, Spain // Ignacio M. García Medina es profesor de Gestión de Empresas. Es miembro del Instituto Juan de Mariana y conferenciante especializado en Cultura Popular e ideas de la Libertad.
Social Networks: @ignaciomgm