In Washington DC, there is one event every year that draws more attention than the Oscars, Grammys, and Superbowl combined. The hottest ticket in town is the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, held annually on the last Saturday in April. That means this upcoming weekend on the 27th, about 3,000 of the most prominent Washingtonians will gather to eat, drink, and merrily poke fun at the president. Unfortunately, unless you are a big time Hollywood celebrity, a journalist with a White House press pass, or a prominent politician, you’ll have to watch the festivities on C-SPAN like the rest of us nobodies.
Starting in 1920, the White House Correspondents’ Dinner began as a typical association gathering to be held annually at the Washington Hilton. With Calvin Coolidge leading the way in 1924, the President and Vice President have also been in attendance creating a friendly atmosphere between DC journalists and their number one source. When the event first started it consisted of an awards banquet recognizing journalistic achievements followed by an hour long song and dance show with a big name celebrity. Over the years, the event has evolved into it’s modern form of a dinner with a comedian as the key speaker, as well as remarks from the President, usually in the form of a roast. The dinner is also much more glamorous than it’s humble beginnings, as media companies ship in Hollywood names to woo advertisers and business partners.
The increased prestige of the White House Correspondent’s dinner has turned it from a one night event to the type of week long hype you would expect in Los Angeles rather than DC. On Saturday following the dinner for example, the movers and shakers of DC will be heading over to Bloomberg/Vanity Fair after party to continue to hob nob the night away. It’s already been announced that Conan O’Brian will be hosting, which will be his second time at the rodeo, having hosted the gig in 1995 as well. In light of recent events, I think this city will be happy to have a night of frivolity to raise their spirits.
IntheCapital will continue to bring you coverage of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner this week. In the mean time, check out Jimmy Kimmel’s roast of President Obama while hosting the dinner last year: