Sun. May 26th, 2024

Get Ready for a Wild Ride at the Correspondents’ Dinner Bash in DC!

Emily Hudson By Emily Hudson May11,2024

Amid a backdrop of conflicts abroad and the rough-and-tumble election, Washington is ready to party, with a dizzying number of events lined up in celebration of the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) dinner. 

The annual dinner on Saturday hosted by the WHCA — and not-so-affectionately dubbed “Nerd Prom — will bring together roughly 2,700 journalists, lawmakers, White House officials and Hollywood celebrities in a packed ballroom at the Washington Hilton Hotel. 

The typically star-studded event, which will feature remarks from President Biden and the gala’s headliner, “Saturday Night Live’s” Colin Jost, is poised to attract a hodge podge of performers, including Scarlett Johannson, “Only Murders in the Building’s” Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Rachel Brosnahan, Rosario Dawson, rapper Quavo, “Mad Men’s” Jon Hamm, and Hiro Sanada from FX’s “Shōgun.”

“My hope is that people will recognize the irreplaceable value of a free press in a democracy when we have an election year, when we have a world with a lot of issues and crises,” Kelly O’Donnell, WHCA president and NBC News’s senior White House correspondent, told ITK. 

“We’re taking one night to pause and honor great work stellar work by our members,” O’Donnell said of the soiree, which raises money for journalism scholarships. 

She said that coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with “the complexity of the issues” the press is dealing with – from Israel’s war with Hamas to the economy and the White House race – journalists are likely ready for a one-night opportunity to let loose at the completely sold-out gala.

“It is difficult to cover these events, and so I hope that the dinner is a chance for people to take a break to reflect on what we do, and to have some fun,” O’Donnell said. 

Journalism circles have whispered about another potential cause for the desire to party: the feeling that if Biden loses in November, much of the #ThisTown crowd isn’t likely to don dancing shoes again for WHCD weekend for another four years.

Rather than tangle with left-leaning celebrities and members of the media, which he repeatedly dubbed an “enemy of the people,” former President Trump famously bucked tradition and skipped the dinner while he was in office. While A-listers such as George Clooney, Charlize Theron, Lupita Nyong’o and Bradley Cooper were once regulars at the Correspondents’ dinner, Hollywood stars largely stayed away from the nation’s capital in the Trump era.

This year’s dinner is poised to be broadcast live on C-SPAN, with Biden and Jost’s remarks also set to air on CNN as part of special coverage hosted by John Berman and Sara Sidner. “Fox News Saturday Night,” hosted by comedian Jimmy Failla, will air from the red carpet at the dinner from 9 to 11 p.m. Fox News and NewsNation, which like The Hill is owned by Nexstar Media Group, will also carry the president and Jost’s speeches live.

If history is any indication, Biden is likely to weave some serious talk in with the typical barbs and roast-like wisecracks. At last year’s dinner, he vowed to fight for all Americans “wrongfully detained” abroad before rolling out some one-liners aimed at everything from the media to Trump’s legal troubles, as well as concerns about his age.

Jost has been mum about any plans he has for D.C.’s big night and the notoriously tough room full of buttoned-up politicians and members of the press. 

O’Donnell praised the “Weekend Update” co-anchor as “perfectly suited for this moment.”

Jost, she said, “was a writer before he was in the comedy world, and that’s what drew me to him — that he would understand our work and also understand the world that we cover.”

Asked about critics who might bristle at a media-filled black-tie soiree at a time when wars abroad are dominating headlines and economic pressures have forced countless layoffs at news outlets across the country, O’Donnell said, “I think when you consider the dinner coming at a time when there are many crises happening, that is true year after year. And part of our culture is to be able to take moments, in a limited way, and allow people to exhale and allow people to celebrate the things that made us want to do this work in the first place. And then we’ll be right back on the job the next day.”

More than 25 events are being held throughout Washington this week timed to coincide with the Correspondents’ dinner. 

One of the most-buzzed-about gatherings is NBCUniversal News Group’s ultra-exclusive after-dinner bash Saturday at the French ambassador’s residence. The news organization appears to be doing it up big to recognize O’Donnell’s role at the WHCA, in addition to her 30th anniversary on Thursday with NBC News. The event will include LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton bespoke champagne and rosé bars, along with iRacing simulators for guests courtesy of one of the party’s sponsors, Ford. 

Some of the other hot tickets include Friday night’s “Right to Bear Arts” gala from the Creative Coalition, the United Talent Agency’s “Celebration of America’s Journalists” affair at Fiola Mare and Creative Artists Agency’s kick-off party at La Grande Boucherie, both held on the eve of the dinner, a Saturday shindig at the Swiss ambassador’s residence hosted by Time and Amazon MGM Studios, the famed Garden Brunch on Saturday morning hosted by Tammy Haddad and CNN’s “Our Cup of Tea” Correspondents’ weekend finale event on Sunday at the British ambassador’s residence.

Emily Hudson

By Emily Hudson

Emily is a talented author who has published several bestselling novels in the mystery genre. With a knack for creating gripping plotlines and intriguing characters, Emily's works have captivated readers worldwide.

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One thought on “Get Ready for a Wild Ride at the Correspondents’ Dinner Bash in DC!”
  1. My hope is that people will recognize the irreplaceable value of a free press in a democracy when we have an election year, when we have a world with a lot of issues and crises. We’re taking one night to pause and honor great work stellar work by our members.

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