WASHINGTON — White House Correspondents Assn. weekend has evolved to a point where a more apt description may be the Comic Con for politics.
On the evening before the dinner, big showbiz names by and large come from D.C.-centered shows, like Alfre Woodward (the president on “State of Affairs”) who showed up at the Time-People party at the St. Regis Hotel, typically the favorite first stop for many journalists as they start the weekend. Also there was Michael Kelly of “House of Cards,” along with White House press secretary Josh Earnest.
On the night before the dinner, usually when energy is at its best, almost a dozen parties around D.C. included ones sponsored by a varying mix of companies, like Funny or Die, Creative Coalition, Google and the Atlantic, even the TV show “Extra,” co-sponsoring the Hill’s event with the Embassy of Canada.
At Chaplin restaurant, manager Eric Podwall and Spotify hosted a dinner (pig roast), with Sophie Turner and Tye Sheridan flying in from the set of “X-Men: Apocalypse” in Montreal with director Bryan Singer (who agrees with the Comic Con comparison). Also present: Jeremy Irvine, Uber’s Emil Michael, Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin, Tony Romo and Candice Crawford and J.C. Chasez.
The event came the same night as the ABC News interview with Bruce Jenner. Brody Jenner was scheduled to come for the weekend, but decided to stay in Los Angeles “to be there in support of his family,” said Podwall, his manager.
The mix of showbiz and substance was on display as John Legend led a Politico-sponsored panel discussion on civil rights at the Long View Gallery, then performed Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song.”
Google — which often hosts one of the more elaborate pre-dinner parties — occupied a tent on the National Mall, with the Atlantic as its co-sponsor. The eclectic group included Timothy Simons of “Veep” and National Security Adviser Susan Rice (who very graciously tried to eat an eggplant pizza square while making friendly small talk). It was a reflection of the reality that as abundant as the parties are, it’s rare that anyone sits down and eats.