When Samantha Bee announced in January that her weekly late night show Full Frontal would put on its own version of the White House correspondents’ dinner (WHCD), it seemed, if briefly, that the actual event might not happen. In the event, the WHCD survived, President Trump said he would not attend, and Bee’s former Daily Show colleague Hasan Minhaj was named to act as host.
On Saturday, it remained to be seen what Bee’s party would be all about if it wasn’t a substitute event.
Taped in the afternoon for air on TBS and Twitter in the evening, Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner bore visual hallmarks of the actual event: famous faces from media and entertainment dolled up in dresses and tuxes to socialize and swill champagne. (Among them Padma Lakshmi, Jake Tapper and Melissa Harris-Perry.) But the event itself was less like the dinner than a one-hour version of Full Frontal: a crowd-pleaser for Bee’s fans, with a sprinkle of spectacle.
Bee, in a white suit, center stage, presented a series of segments related to the night’s theme of the media and the free press and was joined briefly by her on-air correspondents. Even when she went after the media – CNN took a particular beating – there were no cutaways to the audience, so we’ll never know if anyone reacted as poorly to her jabs as Trump did to Seth Meyers’ jokes back in 2011.
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Where can I watch it?
CNN, Fox News and MSNBC will air portions of the dinner throughout the night, and also provide coverage of President Trump’s rally in Pennsylvania, scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.
What if I miss it?
Never fear! C-SPAN will re-air the entire event at midnight.
Isn’t there some sort of Samantha Bee show happening … ?
Indeed. At 10 p.m., TBS will air Bee’s “Not the White House correspondents’ dinner,” which is raising money for the Committee to Protect Journalists. If you don’t have cable, the entire broadcast will stream on Twitter at 11 p.m. (With a red carpet special at 9 p.m.) Details are a secret, but Bee says it is not a Trump roast, like some have assumed. “But this really is, for us, a celebration of the journalism that makes our show possible,” she told Vulture. “So we are just here to celebrate the freedom of the press, for as long as we have it.”
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