Samantha Bee’s Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner has paved the way for a whole new kind of event.
Let’s start by talking about the OG White House Correspondents’ Dinner of years past. Traditionally, it has been seen as an event where political journalists can rub shoulders with politicians, namely the president and the first lady. Very hoity-toity. This attitude has given way to a more showy event where Hollywood has become involved and celebrities have used the night as a chance to — well, basically, be seen.
With Donald Trump’s election and his displeasure for the media, the whole event has gotten even more bogged down in the political games being played in Washington.
Clearly, it was time for a change, and who better to pave the way for that change than political commentator and Full Frontal host Samantha Bee. Thus, the Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner was born, after it became clear that Trump and his posse wouldn’t be attending this year’s event. Basically, if the president and his entourage aren’t going to be there, then why should Hollywood show up?
But this is Hollywood Goes to Washington. And those celebs still like to be seen and have their voices heard. Along with Bee, The Washington Post reports that you can expect to see the likes of Keegan-Michael Key, Kal Penn, Gloria Steinem, Rachel Bloom, Padma Lakshmi, Matt Walsh, Damon Lindeloff, Max Weinberg, Jordan Carlos, Janelle James and Jessica Williams.
And what with all the negativity around the relationship between journalists and politicians, it’s time to add some much-needed humor into the mix. Don’t expect any kind words toward Trump, however. That just ain’t gonna happen. It’s gonna be a roast. A beautiful, much-needed roast.
But this isn’t a bitter Hollywood, scorning the likes of government officials who continually don’t appreciate the celebrity contribution. No, intermixed within the not-so-subtle jabs at Trump will be an actual celebration of the press. You better believe there will be plenty of encouragement for journalists (hey, like me) to use their voice to influence change over the next four years.
Since the event will also be broadcast live on Twitter, the cries for citizen journalists will also probably be loud and plentiful. Welcome to the age of social media, where we can all share our opinions and encourage online communities to make bold moves for the future.
But let’s not kid ourselves. More than flouncy statements about the power of free speech, this event will use that free speech to stick it to the man and help make all of us little journalists out there feel better about our shaky power in this Trump-dominated world. Uh, yeah, of course I’ll be watching.