Soon after getting fired almost simultaneously by their respective cable TV networks, Tucker Carlson and Don Lemon were the targets of many a joke at this year’s White House Correspondents’ Assn. dinner.
While emceeing Saturday’s event at the Washington Hilton hotel, comedian and “Daily Show” correspondent Roy Wood Jr. addressed the dual terminations of Carlson, formerly of Fox News, and Lemon, who used to work for CNN. Both media personalities were ousted by their employers on Monday.
Tackling Carlson’s firing first, Wood jokingly compared the situation at Fox News to the departure of “Daily Show” host Trevor Noah — who recently decided to leave the Comedy Central show after seven years.
“The untouchable Tucker Carlson is out of a job,” Wood said Saturday to cheers from the audience.
“Some people celebrate. But to Tucker’s staff, I want you to know that I know what you’re feeling. I work at ‘The Daily Show,’ so I too have been blindsided by the sudden departure of the host of a fake news program.”
Wood followed the “Daily Show” quip with a string of references to some of the buzziest and juiciest shows on TV, including “Vanderpump Rules,” “BMF,” “Power” and “Succession.”
“Tucker got caught up … like that dude from ‘Vanderpump Rules,’” Wood continued, referring to a cheating scandal on the reality program.
“I don’t know what ‘Vanderpump Rules’ is about. … My friends told me it’s like ‘BMF’ but for white people — or ‘Succession.’ No, ‘Succession’ is ‘Power’ for white people. No, Tucker Carlson is ‘Power’ for white people. No, that’s white power. You know what, never mind. … We got to get Tucker back on the air, Mr. President. Because right now there’s millions of Americans that don’t even know why they hate you.”
Before Carlson got canned, former “Tucker Carlson Tonight” producer Abby Grossberg in a lawsuit accused the conservative pundit and others at Fox News of fostering a sexist, misogynistic and abusive work environment. The network has called Grossberg’s allegations “baseless.”
“Tucker Carlson is the first host to get fired from Fox News for something that’s only partially about how he treats women,” Wood quipped. “That’s progress. He shattered the a— ceiling.”
“Speaking of a—,” Wood added, “Don Lemon is out of a job.”
Fewer than two hours after Fox News announced it had “agreed to part ways” with its top-rated star, Lemon disclosed via Twitter that he had been bounced by CNN.
When Lemon accused management in his tweet of not having the “decency” to inform him of their decision directly or give him “any indication” that he was on the chopping block, CNN pushed back by saying that Lemon “was offered an opportunity to meet with management but instead released a statement on Twitter.”
“My dog Don Lemon released a statement saying he got fired from CNN, and CNN released a statement saying that they offered Don a meeting,” Wood said.
“They had to part ways because Don Lemon can’t even accurately report a story about Don Lemon.”
Lemon got the ax at CNN shortly after he apologized for a sexist, ageist remark he made about politician Nikki Haley being past her “prime.” The “CNN This Morning” anchor was also recently accused in Variety of exhibiting misogynistic behavior in the workplace — a report he dismissed as “15-year-old gossip.”
“Letting Don go was the wrong move,” Wood said.
“Don was fine when y’all was letting him drink. You shouldn’t have cut off his liquor,” he added, referring to CNN’s recent move to scale back the booze during its New Year’s eve coverage. “You don’t fire your host after the first couple of scandals. The scandals got to stack up. You gotta get ratings. Yes, Don Lemon was a diva and he said a couple of women are raggedy in the face — but that’s a promotion at Fox News!”
The president also had some Lemon material up his sleeve.
“They say I’m over the hill,” Biden said. “Don Lemon would say that’s a man in his prime.”
Both Biden and Wood had plenty to say about the recent legal battle between Fox News and Dominion Voting Systems. Earlier this month, Fox News agreed to settle Dominion’s defamation case against the network for a hefty sum of $787.5 million.
“Y’all look good … look like everybody got a little piece of that settlement money from Fox News,” Wood said. “And that’s all I have to say about that. Because I’m not going to have Dominion on my ass. I love Dominion. Matter of fact, let me just say right now: My favorite voting machine is Dominion voting machines. When I go to the polls, I make sure it is a Dominion machine that I use. If your election needs the truth, put Dominion in your booth.”
Biden got in on the fun too.
“It’s great the cable news networks are here tonight: MSNBC owned by NBCUniversal, Fox News owned by Dominion Voting Systems,” Biden said. “Last year, your favorite Fox News reporters were able to attend because they were fully vaccinated and boosted. This year, with that $787 million settlement, they’re here because they couldn’t say no to a free meal.”