We all remember Obama’s infamous “anger translator” played by the hilarious Keegan-Michael Key. And last night at the Apollo Theater, comedian and Root 100 host Roy Wood Jr. brought the bit back with a twist, translating for current White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
“Everyday Karine Jean-Pierre be up at that podium trying not to cuss at them White folks,” joked the Daily Show correspondent.
“Oh yes, I told ya’ll ass... oh yes, the White House sent out a memorandum,” said Wood, pantomiming Jean-Pierre. “We be seeing you swallow that cuss word, Karine... next question.”
Jean-Pierre, the first Black woman and first openly LBGT person to serve as White House Press Secretary, was also honored at the event. (No curse words were included in her acceptance speech for those who were wondering).
Dr. David Johns, Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition, who introduced the Press Secretary, did however use a few “cuss” words, saying that Jean-Pierre was well known for her “I mean that shit,” responses from the White House Press podium.
In all seriousness, the White House press briefing is an inherently contentious space, with journalists, whose job is to hold truth to power, pressing the White House’s chief spokespeople on the actions of the most powerful person and nation on the planet. However, some attendees said that the joke held a deeper meaning for them as Black women because they feel as if they sometimes have to bite their tongue to be palatable to white audiences.
Wood later offered a rather comical solution to reducing Jean-Pierre’s stress, giving it to beloved Today Show Host and Weather-caster Al Roker who accepted an award along with his wife, equally beloved ABC 20/20 Co Anchor, Deborah Roberts.
“This is easily the happiest Black man on television,” said Wood. “I’m trying to think of a happier brother. Every time you see Roker on TV, “he’ll be like hey, it’s the weather.” Karine, we need to give Al Roker your job,” joked the comedian. “See how Al Roker handles that. “It’s the weather,” “Is the earth flat, Al?”
So far, Jean-Pierre, has not said anything about stepping aside to allow Roker to take over the briefings. For his part, Roker did not offer to take on Jean-Pierre’s duties either.