“I got a promise I will not be going to jail.” So began comedian Trevor Noah’s set at the 2022 White House Correspondents’ Dinner, the Washington equivalent of a comedy “roast.” With his impunity assured, Noah’s job that night was to continue a long-standing tradition of the yearly gala: to publicly mock the president of the United States. Noah may not have realized it, but his set—with its lighthearted jabs at President Biden’s stalled agenda—tapped into a ritual that long precedes today’s high-society dinners. In medieval and Renaissance courts, it was the role of the jester to mock the king and his noblemen and elicit their laughter. The concept of “jester’s privilege” protected his right to ridicule without facing the chopping block—within reason. This story is from Kinfolk Issue Forty-Five Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 45 Open Books Introducing the literary privilege disclaimer. Arts & Culture Issue 45 Yoga with Adriene The internet’s best friend is—finally—finding her own flow. Arts & Culture Garden Issue 45 Piet Oudolf The Dutch designer bringing life—and death—to traditional gardens. Arts & Culture Issue 45 Thomas MacDonell The conservationist transforming the Highlands. Arts & Culture Design Issue 45 The New Craftsmen From the Outer Hebrides to central London, Catherine Lock is celebrating the crafts heritage of Great Britain. Arts & Culture Music Issue 45 Gerard & Kelly On dance, domesticity and the giants of modernism.