President Joe Biden didn’t hold back during his speech at the White House Correspondents’ dinner on Saturday, April 29. The president, 80, showed off his comedic abilities during the annual party — including a quip about the Dark Brandon memes of him. “I’m going to be fine with your jokes but I’m not sure about Dark Brandon,” he said to the evening’s host Roy Wood Jr. as he slipped on his signature aviator shades. The memes of his faux alter-ego have taken on a life of their own, and typically show a laser eyed Biden. Although they first made the rounds in 2022, the meme became more popular once the President had several policy wins — but they were originally from right wing supporters (but democrats have since reclaimed the memes).
During his hilarious speech, the current President also took digs at Tucker Carlson and Don Lemon from Fox News and CNN, respectively, who are no longer with their networks. “You say I’m over the hill,” Biden began. “Don Lemon would say that’s a man in his prime,” he then said to the audibly roaring audience full of A-Listers. He then said of his tenure in office that, “The job isn’t finished, I mean it is finished for Tucker Carlson” — referencing his departure from FOX News.
The Correspondents’ dinner comes at the end of the week after Biden formally announced his 2024 campaign for president, after long teasing that he’d make his re-election bid. Biden announced that he and Vice President Kamala Harris would be on the 2024 ticket once again with a short campaign video, saying he wanted to “finish the job” he started in 2021. “The question we are facing is whether in the years ahead we have more freedom or less freedom, more rights or fewer,” he said. “I know America and I know we are good and decent people. I know we are still a country that believes in honesty and respect, and treating each other with dignity.”
Ahead of the dinner, Biden has shown off some of his comedic abilities during appearances and interviews over the past year. While speaking about attacks from Republicans directed towards the Disney company, Biden had perfect quip, referencing the January 6 attack on the Capitol. “It’s one thing to take on Disney World. They’re going to storm Cinderella’s castle before this is over,” he said during a DNC fundraiser in May 2022, while also calling out Republicans’ attempts to ban books in schools and the “Don’t Say Gay” legislation in Florida. “If I told you these things, I think you’d think I was crazy.”
This marks the second Correspondents’ dinner of Biden’s presidency. While the event was canceled in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it returned in 2022, with Trevor Noah as the featured comedian. It marked the first time that the president had attended the event since 2016, as former President Donald Trump did not attend throughout his administration.
While the Correspondents’ dinner is a chance for the president to make jokes (as well as enjoy some entertainment from pro comedian Roy Wood Jr., who took a dig at Vanderpump Rules with cast member Ariana Madix in the audience), it’s far from the only speech that Biden has given this year. During his State of the Union speech in February, Biden sparred with Republican hecklers while discussing plans for Medicare and social security. After he said that some Republicans have suggested letting the programs “sunset,” Conservative Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert both shouted, and he took it as a chance to flip the script. “So we all agree, Social Security and Medicare are off the books,” he said.
Ahead of the 2022 midterms, Biden also gave a speech in Philadelphia outside of Independence Hall, warning Americans that democracy was on the line during the election. “As I stand here tonight, equality and democracy are under assault,” he said. “Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.”