Hasan Minhaj isn’t joking around.
The comedian and Daily Show correspondent started his speech at the 72nd annual Radio and Television Correspondents’ Association Dinner on June 15 with plenty of funny, but finished with some powerful words about Orlando and Congressional inaction.
Then, things got real. After 18 minutes of comedy, Minhaj sobered up.
“I don’t even know how to pivot here, to be honest,” he said to a chuckling crowd.
The room quickly fell silent as he addressed the Orlando shooting.
“The sad reality is, stuff like this is going to continue to happen unless we recognize that civil liberties are an all-or-nothing game. A rising tide lifts all boats. It’s not pick or choose. So, whether you like it or not, we all have to step up and fight for each other, or the whole thing is a sham.”
“And until we do that, Hijabis are going to get harassed in the streets. Members from the trans community are going to be demonized for using the bathroom. And my brothers and sisters in the African American community, their spines are going to continue to get shattered in the back of paddy wagons until we stand up and say something.”
Then, he ripped Congress a new one.
“You make almost $200,000 a year to write rules to make our society better. Not Tweet, not tell us about your thoughts and prayers. To write rules to make our society better.”
After noting that the NRA has funnelled $3.7 million to Congress since 1998, Minhaj had a proposition for Congress.
“I don’t know if this is like a Kickstarter thing, but if $3.7 million can buy political influence to take lives, if we raise $4 million would you guys take that to save lives?”
You can watch the complete dinner ceremony on C-SPAN.