The 2016 annual White House Correspondents' Dinner is on Saturday and will celebrate journalists and their White House coverage. The big event will be hosted by comedian and Nightly Show host Larry Wilmore, and will be attended by a superstar guest list that includes Priyanka Chopra, Will Smith, Rosario Dawson, and many others. And while this year's dinner will likely be interesting with Wilmore hosting, we'd like to take a quick trip down memory lane, back to some classic 2014 John Oliver coverage — specifically, what John Oliver said about the White House Correspondents' Dinner in 2014 on his HBO late-night talk show, Last Week Tonight.
Oliver aired a short and witty segment on the event, which has been likened to a "nerd prom" by many media outlets. The comedian — as usual — wasn't shy about critiquing the event, claiming that the nerd prom "amazingly [is] actually even worse than it sounds." He started the segment by speaking of the ongoing turmoil in the Ukraine, and how it would have been discussed more had the dinner not been taking place the same week — something the public and media seem to do frequently. He noted, "Ukraine would have been the talk of the town in Washington all this week if they hadn't spend the last seven days party planning for last night."
Oliver also described the event as a night when "journalists celebrate their independence by hanging out with their sources and celebrate their importance by utterly ignoring one another in favor of Hollywood stars." When it came down to the real purpose of the White House Correspondents' Dinner, Oliver noted, "the main purpose of the evening seems to be providing photos of glamorous celebrities completely unaware of who they are standing next to."
While the event is often fun and light, with presidential skits and comedic guests appearance — for instance, President Obama's 2015 "anger translator" skit — Oliver is right about the ethical qualms of celebrating journalism with America's rich and elite. He is right to point out just how much this event, the nerd prom, steers away from some of the most important issues facing the United States and the world. But we will hopefully see some fun Donald Trump jokes to lighten the dismal future of this country and the rest of the world in the case of his presidency.
I, for one, am looking forward to what Oliver might have to say about this year's dinner.