Until it’s happening, I always forget about the Al Smith Dinner, the lighthearted roast where the candidates get together and make fun of each other for charity in honor of the first Catholic to run for president. It’s a great way for the candidates to humanize themselves by joking about their opponent and making fun of themselves.
Unless you have no humanity.
Donald Trump’s speech at the Al Smith Dinner began somewhat harmlessly, but as the speech wore on, it got darker, more awkward, more self-serving, and, well, nastier. By the end, it was no longer a light roasting of Hillary Clinton. It was just another Trump rally speech. Maybe for the first time in the long history of the Al Smith Dinner, a candidate got booed. Trump did not really make any jokes at his own expense. He just made an increasingly dark series of jokes at Clinton’s expense. However, he did make one at his wife’s expense (which received his biggest laughs of the night).
Here’s a highlight reel compiled by the Times, which doesn’t include most of Trump’s nastier jokes (although, it does give a taste of how good Clinton was).
To get a true feel for how unpleasant Trump’s speech was, you have to watch it in its entirety. It was like one of Trump’s debate performances: It just went off the rails by the end and Trump hit his lowest point when Trump joked, “Here she is in public pretending not to hate Catholics.”
Jump to the 10 minute mark if you just want the awkwardness and all the boos.
The Internet was not impressed.
Trump is like a guy who got into stand up comedy because he always told the funniest AIDS jokes at the frat house #AlSmithDinner— Matt Oswalt (@MattOswaltVA) October 21, 2016
That is the last room to blow yourself up in but he did it. My jaw hit the floor. #AlSmithDinner— Steve King (@steveking_) October 21, 2016
"There were some hits on Hillary that had no joke-work whatsoever. He just attacked her."— Bill Harnsberger (@BillinPortland) October 21, 2016
—-Al Franken #AlSmithDinner
That was absolutely awful. Trump bombed big time. Just cringeworthy. #AlSmithDinner— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) October 21, 2016
my skin is crawling #AlSmithDinner— Oliver Willis (@owillis) October 21, 2016
Man, he's awful. Not just bad jokes but a bad human. #AlSmithDinner— Lisa Rowe ★ ☔ (@txvoodoo) October 21, 2016
For the record, Hillary crushed it, and even at a roast managed to sound Presidential and funny, without being “nasty,” although Rudy Giuliani might disagree.
Rudy Giuliani was not amused by Hillary Clinton's remarks at the Alfred E. Smith Dinner. https://t.co/I1CBQHFnPu— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 21, 2016
Here’s Hillary’s entire speech.
"It’s amazing that I’m up here after Donald. I didn’t think he’d be OK with a peaceful transition of power." —Hillary at the #AlSmithDinner— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 21, 2016