VIDEO: “First-Generation, Indian-American Muslim Kid” Makes Fun of the President. Onstage.

Hasan Minhaj celebrates the "ninth year in a row" of a Muslim man speaking at the White House Correspondent's Dinner. Screengrab.

In hosting the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner for the first time Saturday, The Daily Show‘s “first-generation, Indian-American Muslim kid,” Hasan Minhaj, was in rare form, subjecting the D.C. press corps and the absent Trump administration to the biting, funny-because-its-true humor laced with socio-political critique that’s made him a standout senior correspondent on The Daily Show.

The full 25-minute speech is worth watching (see video at the bottom of this post), but for those short on time, we’ve excerpted the faith-based funnies Minhaj, who has written for RD, offered at the annual event fondly known as “nerd prom.”

  • “Who would have thought, with everything going on in the country, that a Muslim would be standing on this stage — for the ninth year in a row, baby,” Minhaj asked, before skewering former President Obama for “jet-skiing while the world burns.”
  • While it wasn’t explicitly religious, Minhaj’s sharpest words (and most clever puns) were saved for senior advisor to the president, former Breitbart publisher Steve Bannon.

“Now a lot of people think Steve Bannon is the reason Donald Trump dog-whistles to racists,” Minhaj said. “That is just not true. Ask Steve Bannon. Is Steve Bannon here? I do not see Steve Bannon. I do not see Steve Bannon. Not see Steve Bannon. NAZI Steve Bannon. NAZI Steve Bannon.”

  • Minhaj was unapologetic as he ripped into other administration officials who refused to attend the annual event, speculating on why several key White House players weren’t willing to be in the same room as the journalists who report on them:

“Mike Pence wanted to be here tonight, but his wife wouldn’t let him because apparently one of you ladies is ovulating,” Minhaj offered, riffing on Pence’s religiously-informed rule about not dining alone with a woman other than his wife. “Sooo … good job, ladies. Because of you, we couldn’t hang out with Mike Pence,” Minhaj quipped, before mouthing a silent “thank you.”

  • “[Sean Spicer] has been doing PR since 1999,” Minhaj noted. “He has been doing this job for 18 years. And somehow, after 18 years, his go-to move when you ask him a tough question is denying the Holocaust. That is insane! How many people do you know that can turn a press briefing into a full-on Mel Gibson traffic stop?”
  • After a tepidly received joke about Bill O’Reilly’s $25-million Fox News severance deal being “the only package Bill O’Reilly won’t force a woman to touch,” Minhaj called out the “fair and balanced” network:

“I know some of you are wondering, Hasan, how do you know so much about Fox News? Well as a Muslim, I like to watch Fox News for the same reason I like to play ‘Call of Duty.’ Sometimes, I like to turn my brain off and watch strangers insult my family and heritage.”


While much of Minhaj’s monologue prodded the president’s notoriously thin skin and Twitter-happy trigger finger, the 31-year-old was also keenly aware of his rarified position on that stage: “Only in America can a first-generation, Indian American Muslim kid get on the stage and make fun of the president,” Minhaj acknowledged, to enthusiastic applause from the otherwise subdued audience.