Michelle Wolf is going to host this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner. She’s a good pick: she’s a great comedian with a sharp political edge that hasn’t gotten dulled or diminished by either the (almost impossible to joke about) Trump administration or by the sheer surplus of unimaginative, overly similar political comedy out there today. She’s funny, is what I’m saying, and smart, and she’ll probably do a great job at this thing, whether the president is actually there this time or not. (He almost definitely won’t be.)
It’s cool that she’s doing it. She’s good and smart and funny and it’ll be great promo for her upcoming Netflix show. Why does it still exist, though? This party is an embarrassing, archaic reminder of the dangerous chumminess between the news media, the pundit class, and the political establishment that they’re supposed to be holding accountable. Yeah, we all might still have warm and fuzzy feelings about Stephen Colbert shredding George W. Bush to his face that one time, but that was like 12 years ago. This dinner is an inherently political event that is almost always politics-free. It’s batting practice for political comedy—the host lobs up a few softballs, and then the president approaches the plate and hacks away. That won’t happen this year, since Trump almost definitely won’t show up at the thing. So instead it’s just a black tie affair where celebrity pundits, disingenuous partisan hacks, and too rare legitimate journalists rub elbows alongside a random scattering of mid-grade entertainment figures to hear the twentieth anti-Trump monologue that week. Not having the president there might actually be a step up, especially when the president is as despicable and intrinsically humor-free as Trump, but that doesn’t compensate for the major fault at the dinner’s foundations. The White House Correspondents’ Dinner is the most glaring example of the lazy indulgence and sycophancy of mainstream political journalism, and hopefully Wolf will bring that up more than a few times during her speech. And then hopefully they’ll never have another one of these things again.
The thing goes down on April 28, and will be on the TV somewhere, no doubt.