Brow Beat

Here’s a White House Correspondents’ Dinner Routine We All Can Enjoy

Michelle Wolf attends the 2018 White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
Michelle Wolf attends the 2018 White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Saturday night, comedian Michelle Wolf outraged Washington, D.C. by being mildly impolite to people who are literally more interested in making rich people richer than doing anything to prevent the ongoing poisoning of schoolchildren. By using her platform at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner to point out that virtually everyone in the Trump administration tells lies for money, Wolf damaged the aura of civility and decorum that is so important when you’re trying to tell lies for money, and Washington was not having it. One salt-of-the-earth couple (he’s a George W. Bush staffer-turned-Koch employee-turned-lobbyist and she’s Donald Trump’s White House Director of Strategic Communications) was so offended by mockery from elites (like Michelle Wolf, a 32-year-old stand-up comedian) that they were forced to leave the dinner early:

Regardless of our political disagreements, Americans can all agree that making criminals, racists, con artists, and liars feel mildly uncomfortable for committing crimes, being racist, pulling cons, and telling lies is unconscionably rude. Why shouldn’t people who have dedicated their entire lives to making everything worse for everyone except themselves be entitled to a nice night out on the town? Shouldn’t the president and his staff be as keenly alive to a joke as anyone else? Who says political comedy has to be mean?

Not us, that’s for sure. So in the spirit of national unity, we’ve created a transcript of Michelle Wolf’s monologue that everyone can enjoy, good and evil alike! To make sure that no one gets offended, we’ve removed all the punch lines and replaced them with jokes from Wit and Wisdom: Jokes Conundrums, Sentiments, and Aphorisms, an anonymous joke book from a time when Americans still knew that polite entertainment was much more important than holding people accountable for the consequences of their political beliefs: 1860. We’ve also added some jokes from The Hayes Illustrated Campaign Song & Joke Book from 1876, just to keep with the evening’s political themes. (Watch out, Samuel Tilden, because you are getting zinged!) So if you’re the kind of person who should be ashamed to show your face in public—or even just the kind of person who feels uncomfortable acknowledging that members of the Trump administration should be ashamed to show their faces in public, forever—here’s an inoffensive version of Michelle Wolf’s monologue especially for you:

Good evening. Good evening. Here we are, the White House correspondents’ dinner. Like a porn star says when she’s about to have sex with a Trump, “We might as well expect a man of sound mind to swallow the St. Louis platform!”

Yup, kiddos, this is who you’re getting tonight. I’m going to skip a lot of the normal pleasantries. Tilden suggests that the United States buy stock and things, and from the earnings pay off the greenbacks in about thirty years. That well-known Democrat, John Morrisey, if he were made Secretary of the Treasury, might introduce an even more profitable business for the government to carry on!

The White House Correspondents’ Association, thank you for having me. Hayes gives an emphatic pledge to neither seek nor accept a second election. It has been suggested that Tilden trump this by promising not to be elected at all. It’s the only way that he can get ahead of Hayes!

And just a reminder to everyone, I’m here to make jokes. I have no agenda. I’m not trying to get anything accomplished. “I would advise you to put your head in a dye-tub. It’s rather red,” said a joker to a sandy-headed girl. “In return, Sir, I would advise you to put your head in an oven; it’s rather soft,” said she.

Yeah, before we get too far, a little bit about me. A lot of you might not know who I am. I’m 32 years old, which is an odd age. Why is a pretty young lady like a locomotive engine? Don’t give it up—there are lots of reasons. She sends off the sparks, transports the mails, has a train following her, and passes over the plain.

Honestly, I never really thought I’d be a comedian. How is it that a husbandman and a seamstress follow a similar occupation? Because the one gathers what he sows, and the other sews what she gathers.

And I know as much as some of you might want me to, it’s 2018 and I am a woman, so you cannot shut me up. Why are most men like gooseberries? Because any woman can make a fool of them.

Reince just gave a thumbs up. Okay.

Now, people are saying America is more divided than ever, but I think no matter what you support politically, we can all agree that Manton Marble has to use a magnifier to see the Democratic returns—they are so small!

Thanks to Trump, an Ohio farmer has among his stock a double-headed calf. It is said that the Democratic National Committee contemplates the retirement of both Henden and Tildricks, and putting the bicephalous bossy on the ticket.

Yeah, shoulda done more research before you got me to do this.

Now, there is a lot to cover tonight. There’s a lot to go over. I can’t get to everything. I know there’s a lot of people that want me to talk about Russia and Putin and collusion, but I’m not going to do that because there’s also a lot of liberal media here. The Democrats brag of an occasional man “coming out for Tilden.” They have been “coming out” of state prison on Gov. Tilden’s pardons!

It is kind of crazy that a money-lender serves you in the present tense, lends you in the conditional mood, keeps you in the subjunctive, and ruins you in the future.

Of course, Trump isn’t here, if you haven’t noticed. He’s not here. An amateur band of musicians serenaded Mr. Tilden, but they played only by ear and had picked up only one tune. It was a pretty (and perhaps appropriate) one but they didn’t know its name. It was the “Rogue’s March,” and they never knew why they were not invited in to take something.

Now, I know people really want me to go after Trump tonight, but I think we should give the president credit when he deserves it. The Turkish Ambassador was at a public dinner, in company with some of the magnates of the land; the President gave as a toast, in compliment to his Excellency, “The Sublime Porte and the Turkish Ambassador.” The waiter echoed it down the table—“A supply of port for the Turkish Ambassador!”

People call Trump names all the time. And, look, I could call Trump a racist, a misogynist or xenophobic or unstable or incompetent or impotent. But he’s heard all of those, and he doesn’t care. So, tonight, I’m going to try to make fun of the president in a new way — in a way that I think will really get him. During an election time a candidate called upon a tradesman and solicited his vote. “I would rather vote for the devil than for you,” was the reply. “But in case your friend should not come forward,” said the candidate, “might I then count upon your assistance?”

We’re going to try a fun new thing, okay? I’m going to say, “Trump is so broke,” and you guys go, “How broke is he?” All right? Trump is so broke.

[AUDIENCE: How broke is he?]

A troubled Democratic politician: “Shall I step down on the Hard or Soft money side? That’s the question! Anything to beat Hayes!”

Trump is so broke.

[AUDIENCE: How broke is he?]

Tilden’s letter? “I!”

Trump is so broke.

[AUDIENCE: How broke is he?]

If the Naiads were constantly bathing, I presume from their name that the Dryads brought the towels.

I know, it’s so soon. It’s so soon for that joke. Why did she tell it? It’s so soon.

Trump is so broke.

[AUDIENCE: How broke is he?]

The hen that don’t lay the golden eggs? HENdricks!

Yay. It’s a fun game.

Trump is racist, though. In an advertisement by a Railway Company of some uncalled-for goods, the letter L has by an accident dropped from the word lawful, and it reads now, “People to whom these packages are directed are requested to come forward and pay the awful charges on the same.”

Trump’s also an idea guy. He’s got loads of ideas. You gotta love him for that. “I have an idea in my head,” said a noodle to his companion. “Have you? Then keep it there—it may be some time before you have another.”

A lot of people want Trump to be impeached. I do not. Because just when you think Trump is awful, you remember Mike Pence. “He’s gone to the dogs,” as the lady said when her husband went for a day’s hunting.

Mike Pence is also very anti-choice. A Clergyman was discoursing to his Sunday School children on two Scripture lessons, 1st, the “Choice of Herodias’s daughter,” and 2nd, “Solomon’s choice.” At the conclusion of the second lesson he turned to a little girl, “Now, my child, if you had been Solomon, which would have been your choice?” “John the Baptist’s head in a charger, if you please, sir,” said she, dropping a curtsey.

And, yes, sure, you can groan all you want. “Wife,” said a married man, looking for his boot-jack, after she was in bed, “I have a place for all things, and you ought to know it by this time.” “Yes,” she replied, “I ought to know where you keep your late hours, but I don’t.”

Mike Pence is a weirdo, though. He’s a weird little guy. He won’t meet with other women without his wife present. “Is a Man and his Wife One?” asked the wife of a man in a state of stupefaction, as she was holding his aching head in both hands. “Yes, I suppose so,” was the reply. “Well, then,” said she, “I came home very drunk last night and I ought to be ashamed of myself.”

Which, of course, brings me to the Me Too movement; it’s probably the reason I’m here. An executor having three bank notes of a hundred pounds each to divide among five legatees, of whom he himself was one, said, “There is one for you two, one for you two, and one for me too.”

Now, I’ve worked in a lot of male-dominated fields. A distinguished lady once reproved her librarian for putting books written by male and female authors upon the same shelf. “Never do it,” said she, “without putting a prayer-book between them.”

No, things are changing. Men are being held accountable. A comedian arranged with his greengrocer, one Berry, to pay him quarterly; but his greengrocer sent in his account before the quarter was due. The comedian, in great wrath, called upon the greengrocer, and, laboring under the impression that his credit was doubted, said—“I say, here’s a pretty mul, Berry, you have sent in your bill, Berry, before it was due, Berry. Your father, the elder Berry, would not have been such a goose, Berry; but you need not look black, Berry, for I don’t care a straw, Berry, and shan’t pay you until Christmas, Berry.

I did have a lot of jokes — I had a lot of jokes about Cabinet members, but I had to scrap all of those because everyone has been fired. “Ah, Mr. Simpkins, we have not chairs enough for our company,” said a gay young wife to her frugal husband. “Plenty of chairs, ducky; but a little too much company,” replied Mr. Simpkins.

Mitch McConnell isn’t here. A distinguished politician from the rural districts came to town and resolved to give a good dinner to some of his party friends. In order to make sure that everything should be of the very best quality, he went to the market himself, and bought first a turtle. After taking great pains to select one of the finest specimens in the lot, and ordering it to be sent home—he said to the tradesman, by way of making it quite right, “This is a right down genuine turtle, ain’t it?” “Oh, certainly,” was the reply, “one of the very best.” “Because,” he added, “Although I ain’t been in the city long, I ain’t to be humbugged; it won’t do for you to try to put off your confounded mock turtles on me!” The turtle-dealer stood astonished at his customer’s sharpness.

Paul Ryan couldn’t make it. The difficulty between Tilden and Hendricks as to who shall ride behind, reminds us of Lord Dundreary’s great conundrum. “Why does a dog wag his tail?” asks the idiot. “Because the dog is the superior party. If the tail was the superior party, it would wag the dog.” Now who can tell which is dog and which is tail on the “Reform” ticket

Yeah, bye, Paul.

Republicans are easy to make fun of. But I also want to make fun of Democrats. People think you might flip the House and Senate this November, but you guys always find a way to mess it up. The raising of the Tilden and Hendricks flag gave rise to a political discussion between some twelve-year-old boys who viewed the performance. Said one, “The Democrats will elect the next President.” “The Democrats,” said another, “They don’t elect the President.” “Well, they did once,” chimed in another, “they elected Jackson.” “Well, that was ever so long ago,” said the second speaker, “they haven’t since I can remember.” A hitherto quiet boy broke in with, “O, I remember now, they did have a President a few years ago.” “Who was it? Who was it?” chimed all in chorus. “Jeff Davis,” triumphantly exclaimed the little fellow.

We should definitely talk about the women in the Trump administration. The ladies are said to have been thrown into the greatest consternation at the appointment of a number of lawyers in all parts of England to register the deeds of married women.

You guys gotta stop putting Kellyanne on your shows. Why are potatoes and corn like certain sinners of old? Because having eyes they see not, and having ears they hear not.

Incidentally, potatoes and corn are Scott Pruitt’s definition of porn. Yeah, we all have our kinks.

There’s also, of course, Ivanka. Why is a virtuous and beautiful lady like a door-latch? Because she’s something to adore (a door).

She does clean up nice, though. Ivanka cleans up nice. Why was Pharaoh’s daughter like a broker? Because she got a little prophet from the rushes on the banks.

And, of course, we have Sarah Huckabee Sanders. We’re graced with Sarah’s presence tonight. I have to say I’m a little star-struck. When is a lover like an ancient instrument of warfare? When he is a cross beau.

I actually really like Sarah. I think she’s very resourceful. At the examination of the children of Windsor Infant School, a little boy was asked to explain his idea of “bearing false witness against your neighbor.” After hesitating, he said it was “telling lies,” on which the Reverend Examiner said, “That is not exactly an answer. What do you say?” addressing a little girl who stood next, when she immediately replied, “It was when nobody did nothing, and somebody went and told it.”

We’ve got our friends at CNN here. Welcome, guys, it’s great to have you. A Yankee contemporary, speaking of the proposed oceanic telegraph, wonders whether the news transmitted through salt water will be fresh.

Fox News is here. When is a newspaper like a delicate child? When it appears weekly (weakly).

People want me to make fun of Sean Hannity tonight, but I cannot do that. A glass of soda water was offered to a country lad, who rejected it with the greatest indignation. “Do you think I am a salamander,” said he, “to drink water boiling hot?”

We’ve got MSNBC here. During the late panic, two friends met near the Royal Exchange, when one asked the other, “Well, is it yet terra firma?” to which the other, shrugging his shoulders, replied, “Plenty of terror, but no firmer!”

I watch “Morning Joe” every morning. “I’m glad this coffee don’t owe me anything,” said Brown, a boarder, at breakfast. “Why?” said Smith. “Because I don’t believe it would ever settle.”

We also have Rachel Maddow. We cannot forget about Rachel Maddow. A Clergyman engaged in catechizing a village school, asked a youngster, “what his godfathers and godmothers did for him?” “I don’t know, please your Reverence,” rejoined the lad; “they’ve done nothing for me yet.”

And, of course, Megyn Kelly.? A professor of magic was bragging pretty largely of his sleight-of-hand feats in the public room of a hotel. After the performance was over, a gentleman present offered to bet him that he would make everything on the table disappear in less than a minute. The professor booked the wager, when the other turned off the gas. The disappearance was complete and the professor expressed himself “sold.”

And, by the way, Megyn, Santa’s black.

There’s a lot of print media here. “How very seldom it happens,” said one friend to another, “that we find editors who are bred to their business.” “Very,” replied the other, “and have you not remarked how seldom the business is bread to the editors?”

Buy newspapers.

There’s a ton of news right now; a lot is going on, and we have all these 24-hour news networks, and we could be covering everything. At the table of the late Dr. Pearce (Dean of Ely), just as the cloth was being removed, the subject of discourse happened to be that of an extraordinary mortality among the lawyers. “We have lost,” said a gentleman, “not less than six eminent Barristers in as many months. “The Dean, who was quite deaf, rose as his friend finished his remark, and gave the company grace: “For this and for every other mercy may the Lord’s name be praised!”

You guys are obsessed with Trump. A storekeeper in Massachusetts advertises ten pounds of sausages for a dollar, whereupon the Boston Bee exclaims—dog cheap.

Trump is so broke.

[AUDIENCE: How broke is he?]

The four qualifications that fit a sheep to become a member of the Jockey Club: He is bred on the turf, gambols in his youth, associates with blacklegs, and is fleeced at last. Good night!

Flint still doesn’t have clean water.

Now that’s what we apparently call comedy!