WASHINGTON – The White House Correspondents’ Association dinner has become a celebrity magnet, this year drawing some big names from television, sports and movies to rub shoulders with members of Congress and to hear the president speak. It has grown to become one of Washington’s biggest events since its smaller origins in 1914 when journalists gathered to push for greater access to the president.
The wide array of celebrity guests included actors from other popular political dramas as well, including Kerry Washington and Darby Stanchfield from ABC’s “Scandal.” The mix of politicians, the media and Hollywood celebrities was surreal, Stanchfield said.
“I’ve been taking notes, actually,” she said.
Alfre Woodard, who plays the president on NBC’s “State of Affairs,” said she enjoys hearing President Obama’s humor because “with him, it comes out of nowhere and it’s very dry, and he does have a wicked sense of humor.”
Much of ABC’s “Modern Family” cast also joined the party, along with would-be presidential candidate and reality TV star Donald Trump.
The dinner also drew attention on social media, though some pointed out news networks were ignoring protests that turned violent just 40 miles north in Baltimore where a man died in police custody.
The featured performer for the night was Cecily Strong from “Saturday Night Live.” She poked fun at many media organizations in the room, but when it came to NBC’s Brian Williams, she stopped short and said she had “nothing – because I work for NBC.”
When he finally took the stage, Obama joked it was the night when “Washington celebrates itself. Somebody’s got to do it.”
Later, Obama brought out comedian Keegan-Michael Key as his “anger translator” to wonder aloud why he had to be there at all.