Who Is The Last Woman To Host The White House Correspondents Dinner? Cecily Strong Follows A Few Other Funny Ladies
Known to some as "Nerd Prom," the White House Correspondents Dinner is basically when the press and President Barack Obama get to step out of the press room and laugh it up for a night. Saturday Night Live's Cecily Strong will host for the night and she'll be the fourth woman to ever hold hosting duties for the event. The last woman to host the White House Correspondents Dinner was Wanda Sykes in 2009. In 1992, comedian Paula Poundstone was the first-ever female solo host and she was followed by Elayne Boosler in 1993.
Strong is primarily known on SNL as a one-time Weekend Update anchor and the hilarious "Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party," but she'll have to get ready to take center stage at the White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday night, which will air live on C-SPAN. In an interview with Variety, Strong mentioned that she's already feeling the pressure from the high-profile gig. "It helps and hopefully doesn’t hurt too much that I’ll already be so different just being a 31-year-old woman up there," she said. "Really, I just hope that some of it is funny to some people — that would be the goal. I want to break even. That is what I keep saying because all I keep hearing is how tough a room it is, so it would really feel like a win if I break even."
Strong said she's been consulting with one-time host and former SNL castmate Seth Meyers, but it would also be a good idea to take a look at the women who hosted before her.
The stand-up comic opened her act by addressing the pressure of the gig head-on. "I keep getting asked the same question: 'Are you nervous? Are you nervous?'" Sykes said at the podium. "If I screw up, Tim Geithner [former Secretary of Treasury] will give me a bonus."
I think that joke probably made more sense in 2009, when she hosted. Other topics she joked about included all those shirtless Obama photos, Obama being the first black president, Michelle Obama's arms, and Dick Cheney. She came under fire and got some criticism for a joke about conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh. The controversial joke: "You know, you might want to look into this, sir, because I think Rush Limbaugh was the twentieth hijacker. But he was just so strung out on OxyContin he missed his flight." Judge for yourself.
The now 62-year-old comedienne hosted the dinner in 1993 with some wildly big '90s hair. "I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to entertain you, since you've all entertained me on C-SPAN so many times," Boosler opened her set at the podium. "I love C-SPAN — it's like lawmakers in their natural habitat. It's like Wild Kingdom, but with congressmen."
The name doesn't sound familiar? Well, Boosler was a pioneer when it came to females in comedy on cable. According to her bio, Boosler financed her own one-hour special on Showtime called Party of One, when no one else would help back it. Since then, she's been all over cable — making many appearances on Comic Relief, Politically Incorrect, and more.
In 1992, Bill Clinton was President, Hillary was First Lady, and Poundstone was the first woman to host the dinner all on her own — other women prior to her had co-hosted with a group or performed music, as Barbara Streisand did in 1963.
Today, she still does stand-up, frequents on NPR's Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, and wrote a book called There's Nothing in This Book That I Meant to Say, in which she talks about many subjects, including that time she got arrested for child endangerment.
However Cecily does on Saturday, I'm just glad we finally get to add another lady to this pitifully short list.
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