The annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner has returned after a two-year pandemic absence, though the specter of the coronavirus continues to hang over this year’s proceedings. Some 2,600 guests will gather at the Washington Hilton on Saturday night but only after being vetted via an app in which they’ll have to show their vaccination history and a same-day negative coronavirus test.
Other than that, the festivities are expected to look much as they have for years. There are the pre- and post-parties and the party itself, featuring the dinner, award and scholarship presentations, remarks by President Biden — the first commander in chief to grace the dinner since Barack Obama in 2016 — and a comedic presentation by “Daily Show” host Trevor Noah. Plus, a few celebrities may show up.
Here’s everything you need to know.
When does it start, and when does it end?
Guests will begin arriving at the Hilton around 5:30 p.m. for the pre-parties sponsored by news organizations. The dinner is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. The speeches and awards usually start around 9:30 p.m., followed by Biden and Noah. The main event is supposed to end around 10:30 p.m., after which the post-parties (also sponsored by media organizations) will begin.
Where can I watch it?
The Washington Post will live-stream the dinner starting around 6:30 p.m. C-SPAN will start its live coverage at 8 p.m. (also live-streamed via C-SPAN.org). CNN’s coverage, anchored by John Berman and Brianna Keilar, will start at 7, though the network says it will cut away for the day’s news, including coverage of the war in Ukraine. Similarly, MSNBC said it plans to carry “portions of the dinner.” Fox News doesn’t plan to carry live coverage on TV; it will live-stream only through its Fox Nation subscriber service.
Who is the comedian delivering the roast?
That would be Noah, fresh off hosting the Grammys this month. His presence is a return to tradition. After comedian Michelle Wolf’s routine caused an uproar in 2018 — she skewered President Donald Trump and several of his officials and aides — the sponsoring White House Correspondents’ Association opted to lower the temperature in 2019. It hired presidential historian Ron Chernow to give after-dinner remarks. There weren’t a lot of laughs.
Who’s hosting parties?
Because one big dinner celebrating journalists apparently is not nearly enough, there will be the usual receptions, brunches, dinners and what-have-yous. The partying starts Thursday, and continues on Friday with events held by Vanity Fair, NBCUniversal, the Motion Picture Association, the Creative Artists Agency, media start-up Semafor, the Creative Coalition, Funny or Die/People magazine and the United Talent Agency, among others. Saturday’s sponsors: Vice News, TheGrio, the ambassador of Colombia, Paramount and NBCUniversal (again). Sunday: CNN and Politico get into the act.
Will celebrities show up?
The dinner’s celebrity quotient ebbed dramatically during the Trump’s term, presumably because no one in Hollywood wanted to be associated with anything with the words “White House” in its name. They needn’t have worried; Trump himself never attended and boycotted it all three years it was held while he was in office.
And while it’s never a good idea to predict who will actually show — vs. who is supposed to show — we do know that Mary J. Blige and Chris Tucker are scheduled to entertain at TheGrio’s party and Paramount has invited various TV stars to its party. Plus, Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson are reportedly coming to the dinner as guests of Disney/ABC. So there’s that.