The White House Correspondents’ Association announced on Monday that it will not feature a comedian at its annual ritzy dinner in Washington after yet another pathetic performance by a so-called “comedian.”
Instead, the WHCA will bring in historian and author Ron Chernow as its featured speaker for the April dinner.
“I’m delighted that Ron will share his lively, deeply researched perspectives on American politics and history at the 2019 White House Correspondents’ Dinner,” said Olivier Knox, president of the WHCA. “As we celebrate the importance of a free and independent news media to the health of the republic, I look forward to hearing Ron place this unusual moment in the context of American history.”
The change comes after the latest unfunny performance at the dinner, this time by “comedian” Michelle Wolf, who last April delivered a 20-minute hate-filled screed, telling abortion jokes, bashing the appearance of the White House press secretary, and calling the president of the United States a “p***y.”
“I actually really like Sarah. I think she’s very resourceful,” Wolf said in the Washington Hilton ballroom. “But she burns facts and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smokey eye. Like maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s lies. It’s probably lies.”
She went on: “And I’m never really sure what to call Sarah Huckabee Sanders, you know? Is it Sarah Sanders, is it Sarah Huckabee Sanders, is it Cousin Huckabee, is it Auntie Huckabee Sanders? What’s Uncle Tom but for white women who disappoint other white women?”
Wolf said she “couldn’t be prouder” that she forced the WHCA change.
“The @whca are cowards. The media is complicit. And I couldn’t be prouder,” said the comedian, who contributes to “The Daily Show” and “Late Night with Seth Meyers.”
The big “nerd prom” — when 3,000 “journalists” and the movers and shakers inside the Beltway gather to praise themselves — has always been a no-win situation for President Trump. That’s why he’s skipped the event two years in a row, and may never attend one during his time in office.
On the night of the last WHCA dinner, Trump held a campaign-style event in Michigan. “Is this better than that phony Washington White House Correspondents’ dinner? Is this more fun?” he said. “I could be up there tonight smiling, like, I love when they’re hitting you, shot after shot. These people, they hate your guts and you know, you gotta smile. And if you don’t smile they’ll say, ‘He was terrible. He couldn’t take it.’ And if you do smile, they’ll say, ‘What was he smiling about?!’ You know, there’s no win.”
After the latest debacle, Trump predicted the demise of the dinner.
“The White House Correspondents’ Dinner is DEAD as we know it. This was a total disaster and an embarrassment to our great Country and all that it stands for. FAKE NEWS is alive and well and beautifully represented on Saturday night!” he wrote on Twitter.
The WHCA dinner used to be a nice affair, everyone decked out in tuxedoes and ballgowns, the evening’s theme always centering on freedom of the press and the First Amendment. The evening took on the tone of a roast, but a PG-13 one, not the kind you see nowadays on Comedy Central, where the show is just one long bleep. The president always did 10 minutes of jokes, followed by entertainment — which for a long time was not a comedian bent on making a political statement.
The dinner once attracted top-notch entertainers. Bob Hope appeared at the 1944 dinner, Frank Sinatra the following year. In 1956, James Cagney emceed and Nat King Cole, Patti Page, and Dizzy Gillespie performed. Other performers include Barbra Streisand, Ray Charles, and Aretha Franklin.
The WHCA skews toward comedians, and there’s been some big names there, too, like Danny Thomas, Milton Berle, Peter Sellers, The Smothers Brothers, Richard Pryor, Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien.
But by 2001, when George W. Bush took office, the entertainment fell off a cliff. B-list comedians like Darrell Hammond, Cedric the Entertainer, Stephen Colbert, Wanda Sykes, Seth Meyers, Jimmy Kimmel and Jon Stewart were picked. The last few years have been pathetic: Joel McHale, Cecily Strong, Larry Wilmore, then Minhaj.
The attacks on Bush also got uglier and uglier. Of course, none of the comedians laid a glove on former president and Chosen One Barack Obama, but the vicious attacks on Republicans and conservatives flourished during his terms, too. And the lapdog media, heavily liberal, whooped and cheered every putrid joke.
In 2013, old-school newsman Tom Brokaw had had enough and announced he wouldn’t attend, wondering why on earth “news” organizations were inviting the likes of Lindsay Lohan. “She became a big star at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Give me a break,” Brokaw said.
But Brokaw also objected to the excess. “It’s who can bring in the most telegenic and outrageous celebrity. What we’re doing is saying … we’re Versailles,” he said. “We’ll let the rest of you eat cake.”