Comedian Roy Wood Jr. didn’t hold back on making fun of current events at the 2023 White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday.
The “Daily Show” correspondent touched on the firing of Fox host Tucker Carlson, CNN host Don Lemon and other shifts in media at the dinner attended by journalists and media personalities who cover the White House and high-ranking American politicians, including the president and vice president on April 28.
Most notably, Wood brought the house down at the Washington Hilton in Washington D.C. with a joke about the current controversy with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
One of two Black Supreme Court associate justices, Thomas made headlines recently after it was revealed that he accepted lavish vacations and gifts from Republican megadonor Harlan Crow without completing financial disclosures.
“A billionaire named Harlan Crown is flying Clarence Thomas all over the world in unreported trips like an Instagram model,” Wood said. “Taking Clarence to the Maldives, the beaches and all that. Paid for his mama’s house. This billionaire paid for Clarence’s Thomas’ mama’s house.”
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For years, the annual dinner has featured a comedian who jokes about the political climate and the key players involved. The president also makes fun of himself for the entertainment of the members of the White House Correspondents’ Association.
Proceeds from the black-tie event finance the journalists’ work covering the president, scholarships and programs that promote free speech. It also includes an award presentation.
Wood, whose father was a civil rights journalist, joked that some Black people wouldn’t mind removing Thomas from the Black delegation in his introduction to his bit about the Black justice’s ties to the Republican donor.
“I gotta give it up to billionaires. Y’all always come up with something new to buy. Just when you think of everything you can buy on Earth, a billionaire would come up with a new thing,” Wood said. “Y’all done bought space rockets. You bought Twitter. This man bought a Supreme Court justice.”
“Do you understand how rich you have to be to buy a Supreme — a Black one on top of that,” he added.“There’s only two in stock, and Harlan Crow owns half the inventory. We can all see Clarence Thomas, but he belongs to billionaire Harlan Crow. And that’s what an NFT is.”
An NFT or non-fungible token is a unique digital identifier used to certify ownership and authenticity in blockchains, a way to store data.
Wood joked earlier in his stand-up routine that many people don’t understand what the data file is, as it’s a new buzz term that has made headlines in recent months as the technology era rapidly evolves.
Still, the comedian hit home with the joke at the end of the speech, hinting at a double entendre.
“Just know, Mama, if a white billionaire calls you and offers to buy your house, please sell it,’’ the comedian told his mother in the audience. “Because I might want to be an NFT.”
Thomas has disputed any wrongdoing, arguing that he was told by colleagues and others that he had no duty to report the trips because Crow had no cases before the court. However, the Los Angeles Times reports that Thomas reported gifts that he received from Crow up to 2004, but he reportedly stopped disclosing them.
Crow also defended his longtime friend, arguing that the pair never spoke about court cases on their family vacations together.
Still, reports also show that a company tied to the billionaire had a case before the court, and Thomas did not recuse himself, leaving lingering questions about his ethics and calls for him to resign.
Wood also joked about the recent firings of the hosts on cable TV’s top news channels, CNN and Fox News.
The comedian did not parse words calling former CNN host Lemon an “a—hole” on Saturday.
The major network announced that it parted ways last Monday with Lemon after 17 years. The ex-host quickly released a statement saying representatives didn’t have the decency to terminate him face-to-face, which CNN disputed, saying it offered to meet with him.
“They had to part ways because Don Lemon couldn’t even accurately report a story about Don Lemon,” Wood said.
Wood also linked his jokes about Lemon’s firing to the culture of CNN’s top competitor Fox News, pointing to sexist comments Lemon made leading up to his removal from the air.
“Yes, Don Lemon was a diva, and he said a couple of women were raggedy in the face, but that’s a promotion at Fox News.”
Wood also joked about the recent multimillion settlement Fox News dished out to Dominion Voting Systems in the electronic voting company’s defamation lawsuit. The comedian amusingly proclaimed his love for Dominion’s voting machines to protect himself from being sued.
He later mocked Carlson’s now-canceled show for its racist rhetoric, playing on the name of the popular Starz series with a mostly Black cast, “Power.”
“‘Tucker Carlson’ is ‘Power’ for white people. No, that’s white power. Never mind,” Wood said.