The annual Radio and Television Correspondents Associate Dinner will air (in its entirety) Saturday on C-SPAN. The actual event happened on Wednesday night with John Kasich delivering a keynote address, but comedian Hasan Minhaj stole the show. The Daily Show correspondent was scheduled to deliver a stand-up routine to a room full of congresspeople and the media. He did just that but veered off course to address a very current event.
What happened, essentially, is that Minhaj saw an opportunity and grabbed it, and he did so right in front of lawmakers’ faces. They expected a little roasting throughout the routine, which they received as Minhaj tossed out gentle barbs about the media’s perception of a “no action Congress.” Then he transitioned into his thoughts on the Orlando nightclub shooting. Minhaj’s speech arrived while Democrats were filibustering to force a vote on two gun control bills, so the timing was right, and Minhaj did not hold back:
“You get paid almost $200,000 a year to write rules, to make our society better. Not tweet, not tell us about your thoughts and prayers. To write rules to make our society better. Right now, since 1998, the NRA has given $3.7 million to Congress. So I don’t know if this is like a Kickstarter thing, but if $3.7 million can buy political influence to take lives, if we raise $4 million would you guys take that to save lives?”
Minhaj later told People how the audience reception to his speech was “a little cold.” They really wanted a comedy routine and ended up with a lecture about their seeming hypocrisy in accepting NRA gun money. Yet Minhaj has no regrets over addressing the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history while his audience squirmed. You can see the relevant portion of Minhaj’s speech below.
Here’s the full-length video of Minhaj’s “stand-up” routine.