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White House Correspondents rant rapidly ranks on YouTube

Commentary: Hasan Minhaj of "The Daily Show" offers a cutting diversion at the dinner, and it's suddenly the No. 1 trending video on YouTube.

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Hasan Minhaj says he's the only one who'd do it.

Tasos Katopodis, Getty Images

The president wasn't there.

In body, at least.

His spirit, however, hovered over the White House Correspondents' Dinner on Saturday as Hasan Minhaj of "The Daily Show" ran through his monologue as the event's headliner.

"Welcome to the series finale of the White House Correspondents' Dinner," Minhaj began.

An Indian-American Muslim, Minhaj couldn't help but point out that he isn't from around here. "No one wanted to do this," he said. "So of course it lands in the hands of an immigrant."

His targets ranged from USA Today to, well, the media in general.

Minhaj said he was asked not to make jokes about the president, though that may itself have been a joke. Sadly, he couldn't manage it either way.

"The leader of our country is not here," he said. "And that's because he lives in Moscow. It is a very long flight."

He added: "As for the other guy, I think he's in Pennsylvania because he can't take a joke." That was a reference to President Donald Trump's decision to lead a rally in Pennsylvania during the dinner, which presidents have long attended, whether they liked it or not.

Video of Minhaj's 25-minute performance is currently the No. 1 trending topic on YouTube, racking up more than 649,000 views in a handful of hours, with six times as many people giving it a thumbs-up than a thumbs-down.

Minhaj not only targeted Trump but members of the administration as well. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, chief strategist Steve Bannon and Vice President Mike Pence were among the butts of his humor.

Minhaj even managed a tweak of Hillary Clinton, suggesting she wasn't in attendance because she thought the dinner was in Michigan and Wisconsin.

He paused to be serious, claiming that in our times, trust is more important than truth. He lambasted the media for its myopia.

"Remember election night?" he said. "That was your Steve Harvey-Miss Universe moment. The look on your faces at 11 p.m. on election night, it was like walking into a Panera Bread and finding out your sixth-grade teacher has a part-time job there."

He likened the media to a "bunch of stripper-cops trying to solve a real-life murder."

Media of all hues -- Fox News, MSNBC, CNN -- were treated with equal contempt.

"If you have nine experts on a panel, what is your barrier of entry?" he asked of CNN.

Minhaj continued to provoke both laughter and embarrassment.

"You guys have to be more perfect than ever," he said to the assembled press. "Because you are how the president gets his news: not from advisers, not from experts, not from intelligence agencies. You guys."

Perhaps his most perfectly cutting moment was when he told the press: "When one of you messes up, he blames the entire group. And now you know what it feels like to be a minority."

Meanwhile, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus appeared on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday morning and said "newspapers and news agencies need to be more responsible with how they report the news."

He added that the administration has "looked at" changing libel laws.

And that's where the laughter stops.

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