Apr 26, 2022 - News

Washington's nerd prom is back

Guests at the White House Correspondents Dinner.
Tthe 2018 White House Correspondents Dinner. Photo: by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Washington’s biggest bash — the White House Correspondents' Association dinner — is back this Saturday, along with a weekend full of parties. 

Why it matters: The festivities — love 'em or hate 'em — are set to be one of the biggest events in D.C. since COVID hit, cranking up the city’s party planning machine and its legions of caterers and hospitality workers. And for the first time since 2016, a sitting president will attend. 

Catch up quick: Comedian Trevor Noah will host (and roast). Page Six reports that Kim Kardashian and beau Pete Davidson will stop by.

Yes, but: Many in the press corps bemoan what a corporatized, Hollywood-heavy spectacle the bash has become in the past decade, not to mention the ickiness of journos partying so hard with the officials they’re supposed to be holding to account. 

  • The New York Times, citing such optics, hasn’t attended the dinner since 2007.

And the mainly indoor gatherings are taking place while COVID-19 is still a concern in the District. 

  • Earlier this month, scores of journalists and administration officials who attended the indoor Gridiron dinner tested positive. 
  • The Washington Post has nixed its pre-WHCD party for COVID-19 reasons

What we’re hearing: A segment of the press corps who’s been spared of COVID so far — along with parents of young, unvaccinated children — may opt out. 

  • “The Gridiron freaked everybody out,” says Sally Quinn. “I know a number of people who are not going because they are not wanting to chance it.”
  • On the flipside, reporters who did test positive in the past month are now ready to party.  

Here’s a cheat sheet to a few parties of note:

Where you’ll see the most journos on the job hunt: The Semafor party at Justin Smith’s Kalorama home, where he and co-founder Ben Smith will talk up their new media venture. 

The shiny new thing: Vanity Fair’s fete used to be the hottest after-party ticket, but the magazine ditched a few years ago. Paramount’s party at the French ambassador’s residence is apparently the new it-ticket. 

The one party all of A-list Washington will hit: Tammy Haddad’s 27th-annual garden brunch, held at the Georgetown home of co-host Mark Ein, owner of the recently slashed Washington City Paper.

  • Among the out-of-town VIPs expected to attend are actresses Diane Lane and Lynda Carter, filmmaker Jay Roach, actor Danny Strong, and Daily Show correspondent Roy Wood Jr. 
  • Haddad wouldn’t share how many people would be attending — although she says there is a cap on the number of attendees for COVID-19 reasons. 

Go deeper: Full rundown of parties and events.

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