Samantha Bee’s Not The White House Correspondents’ Dinner just unveiled its biggest name get: Will Ferrell, in the guise of his beloved impression of former president George W. Bush. Ferrell swaggered onto the stage, asking the Trump-phobic crowd “How do you like me now?”
Throughout the taping, which took place at the Daughters Of The American Revolution Constitution Hall, Bee teased a special guest, and when Ferrell appeared, smoking a cigarette, the applause was rapturous.
“Bush” went on to riff repeatedly on his sudden status as not the most hated Republican president of the last 50 years. “For the longest time I was considered the worst president of all time,” he joked. “That has changed and it only took 100 days,” he added, calling himself “the Martin Van Buren of the 21st century.” He then laid even further into his fictitious successor, calling him a “snowflake” and a “weak man,” and took aim at the president’s beloved “Mare-a-Lago” saying that it sounds like the name of a Tom Clancy novel. (Indeed, Ferrell still has so much fun playing with Bush’s mispronunciation and misunderstanding of words. “Prodigal” got a work out.)
A segment of the performance also riffed on Bush’s art habit as Ferrell-as-W debuted a follow-up to his book Portraits In Courage called “Portraits In Not Courage.” On stage he brandished an unfinished painting of Trump. “Bush’s” parting words for the new guy in his old job: “Eat a salad.”
Though Trump was indeed Ferrell’s main target, his Bush impression continued to register as sweetly savage. Mainly, however, it was not-all-that-solemn reminder that no matter how bad things can seem in American politics, they can always get worse.
Esther Zuckerman, reporting from Washington D.C.