Spectator USA

Skip to Content


Ron Chernow’s best jokes

Get ready for the 69-year-old biographer of Alexander Hamilton and Ulysses S. Grant to bring down the house

November 19, 2018

1:13 PM

19 November 2018

1:13 PM

The White House Correspondents’ Association have named little-known comedian Ron Chernow as its speaker for next April’s dinner.

If you’re not familiar with the stand-up stylings of Mr Chernow, that could be because he has been posing as a historian for the last 40 or so years. Chernow penned the biography of Alexander Hamilton that inspired the rap-musical Hamilton, as well as tomes about J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller Sr. and George Washington. Needless to say, the White House correspondents are sure to be blown away by a pant-wettingly hysterical set from the 69-year-old.

So how will Chernow follow the scorched-earth approach of Michelle Wolf? Well, to get a sense of Chernow’s sense of humor, Cockburn suggests you skip to the 14m52s of this 70-minute discussion of his latest biography of Ulysses S. Grant with Retired Gen. David H Petraeus, where he wows the 92nd Street Y crowd with a great bit about Ulysses S. Grant selling firewood by the side of the road before the Civil War.

Alternatively, around 41 minutes into this conversation at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, he has the interviewer in stitches with his anecdote about Washington’s initial reluctance to lead an army in the field.

While his comedy is undoubtedly of a more esoteric brand than that of previous Trump-era hosts Wolf and Hasan Minhaj, he may follow in their footsteps by holding the President’s feet to the fire. ‘Like many other historians, I have been deeply disturbed by the Trump campaign. More deeply disturbed than by any other presidential campaign in our history,’ Chernow said in a more political routine back in July 2016.

Undoubtedly, Ron Chernow is a risky choice from the White House Correspondents’ Association. With zingers like these, it’s hard to predict just how much he’ll get under the president’s skin. Cockburn can’t wait to see what Trump tweets after this one. Let’s hope he can make it through his set without Jim Acosta heckling him.

Sign up to receive a weekly summary of the best of Spectator USA

Show comments