This Saturday will see the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner take place, a star-studded event that provides a moment of levity to the tense atmosphere that has engulfed Washington D.C. in the recent months. This year's dinner will mark a milestone in the history of the event, as the 2013 Dinner will mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the White House Correspondent's Association.
Watch a live stream of the dinner below:
The highlight of the night is two events that occur one after another: the president delivering a comedy routine, followed by a headlining comedian giving his monologue, usually a roast of the current president and his administration. While Saturday's Dinner promises to be the largest in the event's history, past dinners have rocked the media world in the past.
A star-studded guest list will accompany this year's event. Confirmed attendees include:
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
Numerous other celebrities will be in attendance as well. Also in attendance will the Vice President Joe Biden and his wife along with Michelle Obama. And since the dinner is technically held in their name, members of the press will be attending, both as the press and as guests for the dinner. This graph from the Atlantic shows off the demographics of the people at the dinner:
Conan O’Brien, former host of Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The Tonight Show, and current host of Conan, will headline the dinner. O’Brien previously headlined the dinner in 1995. In a strange twist of fate, O'Brien headlined the event two weeks after the Oklahoma City Bombing, a similar situation to today, as he headlines Saturday's dinner nearly two weeks after the Boston Marathon bombing.
The dinner started in 1920 and has traditionally been held on the last Saturday in April. However, the more famous tradition of a comedian headlining the dinner did not start until 1983. In the aftermath of the initial performance there have been several memorable performances.
In 2006, Stephan Colbert of The Colbert Report mercilessly roasted President George W. Bush’s administration in a blistering piece of brilliant satire that brought national attention to the event:
At the 2012 celebration, President Obama stole the show away from the headlining comedian Jimmy Kimmel. Launching a comedic salvo against his opponent Mitt Romney, Obama showed that he could tell a joke as well as any comedian:
The event is one that makes Washington D.C. seem less like a town of legislation and more like downtown Los Angeles for a night. This has drawn criticism from veteran journalists such as Tom Brokaw, who told Politico that "The breaking point for me was Lindsay Lohan. She became a big star at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Give me a break."
Supporter of the dinner point out that the White House Correspondent’s Association distributes $100,000 in scholarship money to students at the dinner every year.
Whether you feel excited over the event or despair over what it has become, it promises to be the most talked about gala in Washington D.C. For those who want to view the action live, the event can be seen on C-SPAN starting at 6:15 a.m. EST.