The comedian, 49, received a standing ovation as he walked on stage at the DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., dressed in a navy suit and rocking gray hair. “How you like me now, huh?” he asked, stamping out a cigarette with his shoe. “The prodigal son has returned. I don’t know what that means, but I know it’s positive. It’s very prodigal.”
Ferrell, who famously impersonated Bush during his days on Saturday Night Live, mocked the former president’s “strained, contentious” relationship with the press. “You guys would always sneak up on me with ‘gotcha’ questions like ‘Why are we going to war? Gotcha!’ and ‘Why did you not respond to Hurricane Katrina? Gotcha!'” he said. “I just wish someone had told me all you had to say was ‘fake news’ over and over again. That could be your answer for everything.”
The Step Brothers actor then saluted the press for their dedication. “It’s like being on the Titanic. … The iceberg is coming, and you guys are hanging on to your journalistic integrity, playing your violin as the ship goes down,” he joked.
Ferrell also poked fun at President Donald Trump, saying, “For the longest time I was considered the worst president of all time. That has changed. I needed eight years, a catastrophic flood, a war built on a lie and an economic disaster. The new guy only needed a hundred days.”
Trump, 70, announced in February that he would not attend the official correspondents’ dinner on Saturday night, making him the first president since Ronald Reagan to skip the annual event. Instead, he held a campaign-style rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to celebrate his first 100 days in office.