“With so much excellent reporting out there, why do 96 percent of Americans believe the media should be strung up by its own bowels?” she asked. “I don’t know — maybe because when they turn on the TV looking for news, all they can find are journalists trying to referee a pack of well-coiffed message robots shouting at each other all day from increasingly tiny boxes.”
Mr. Minhaj, 31, who described himself as “a first-generation Indian-American Muslim kid,” arguably had the tougher task of the night. He agreed to appear at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner at a time when it has come under renewed criticism for enabling the cozy mingling of reporters and the government officials they cover.
And Mr. Minhaj lacked the star power of past entertainers like Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers and Jimmy Kimmel. As Mr. Minhaj said at the start of his routine, “No one wanted to do this. So of course, it lands in the hands of an immigrant.”
He added, “Don Rickles died just so you wouldn’t ask him to do this gig.”
On “Full Frontal,” Ms. Bee, 47, a “Daily Show” alumna, has made an asset of her status as an outsider unwelcome in the boys’ club of late-night television.
Her counterdinner, which raised funds for the Committee to Protect Journalists, did not lack for celebrity support: It included appearances from Allison Janney, Steve Buscemi, Patton Oswalt and Will Ferrell, who dusted off the impersonation of President George W. Bush he perfected on “Saturday Night Live” for the occasion.
As Mr. Bush, Mr. Ferrell also took the press to task: “You guys would always sneak up on me with gotcha questions like, ‘Why are we going to war?’ Gotcha. ‘Why did you not respond to Hurricane Katrina?’ Gotcha. ‘What is your middle name?’ Gotcha.”
He added, “I just wish someone had told me that all you have to say is ‘fake news,’ over and over again.”
The White House Correspondents’ event had sincere speeches from the journalists Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, and the briefest of taped messages from Alec Baldwin, who regularly impersonates Mr. Trump on “S.N.L.”
“Keep up the good work,” Mr. Baldwin said in his message.
Mr. Minhaj got off to a bit of a shaky start, joking that “USA Today is what happens when the coupon section takes over the newspaper” and wondering why the news media is so focused on Mr. Trump’s weekend golf trips.
But when his one-liners fell flat, Mr. Minhaj was prepared. “Even if you guys groan,” he told the room, “I’ve already hired Kellyanne Conway. She’s going to go on TV on Monday and tell everyone I killed.”
Ms. Bee came out swinging, particularly at CNN and Jeff Zucker, who is president of CNN Worldwide, and who she said is “filling the airtime between…