The White House Correspondents’ Association dinner is an opportunity for the politically powerful to showcase their ability to take a joke. Naturally, Donald Trump won’t go near it.
For the second straight year, Trump won’t be in attendance for the dinner. Not exactly known for his ability to poke fun at himself or smile along, it makes sense that he wouldn’t want to be there for an evening that both undercuts and exaggerates the press’s supposedly adversarial relationship with our nation’s leaders.
While the event itself dates back more than 100 years, it wasn’t until 1993 that C-SPAN began airing the whole thing live. Since then, comedians, such as Conan O’Brien, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Jay Leno, Drew Carey, Wanda Sykes, Jimmy Kimmel, and Seth Meyers, have taken the stage to jab at the politicians and the press — all in good fun.
Let’s look back at some of the funniest and most daring jokes from past White House Correspondents’ Association dinners, made by celebs and politicos alike.
Larry Wilmore in 2016 took jabs at the obscurity of C-SPAN and a failed promise.
“It is good to be on C-SPAN. Glad I’m not on your rival network, ‘No input, HDMI1.'”
“Oh, I just got a note from the president saying that if you want another drink, you should order it now because the bar will be closing down. Of course, he said the same thing about Guantanamo, so you have at least another eight years.”
During his final dinner in 2016, President Obama starred in a video contemplating life after the White House.
In 1995, Conan O’Brien implored loyal C-SPAN viewers to please find something else to do on a Saturday night.
“I have an announcement for those of you watching this event live on C-SPAN. For God’s sake, it’s Saturday night! Go outside! … There are things you can do!”
The show must go on, as they say.
Last year’s host was Hasan Minhaj, who scorched the president with a comparison to King Joffrey from “Game of Thrones.” This year, the event will be hosted by Michelle Wolf. It’s sure to be as awkward as ever — and it’s still pretty strange to see the press rubbing elbows with the same politicians their jobs require them to criticize. But with the world as dark as it is right now, maybe we do need to just find a way to laugh.