The White House Correspondents' Dinner (WHCD) will be featuring not much of the actual White House this year. Soon after his inauguration, President Trump announced he would not be attending the annual event thrown by the White House Correspondents' Association. Trump's staff followed his lead, vowing to boycott the WHCD out of solidarity with their boss, so it remains to be seen who (if anyone) will be representing 1600 Pennsylvania. Another question: who will do the traditional WHCD skit this year?
Last year, President Obama shot a jovial video with former Republican House Speaker John Boehner, the two palling around and talking about the good times awaiting Obama, post-Oval Office. The skit was both funny and surprisingly moving. Obama and Boehner were notoriously unable to strike a bargain on the budget in 2011, a dramatic public feud indicative of the extreme partisanship that has defined much of America's politics over the past two decades. But behind the scenes, it looked like the two get along just fine.
In fact, Boehner has been in Obama's WHCD skit videos before. In 2014, Julia-Louis Dreyfus played her Veep character, Selina Meyer, in a sketch with real Vice President Joe Biden. Boehner makes a cameo, telling the two over the phone that he's skipping the WHCD because of important business — which appears to be watching a panda video.
The bar for quality sketch comedy at the WHCD was set high during Obama's tenure. From Kevin Spacey bringing his own presidential character from House of Cards to the 2013 event, to Keegan-Michael Key's "anger translating" of Obama's diplomatic speech, audience members and C-SPAN viewers have come to expect plenty of laugh out loud moments.
The only guaranteed performance on the docket thus far is confirmed comedian host Hasan Minhaj. Alec Baldwin has more than hinted that he'd be happy to reprise his Saturday Night Live version of the president, so it's possible he'll be making an appearance.
It's also conceivable that Trump himself might pre-record and send in a video. Obviously, the above-mentioned sketches were all filmed well ahead of time and don't require anyone's physical presence at the actual WHCD event.
Still, with partisan tensions being as high as they are right now, and considering all the blatant attacks Trump has leveled at the press, it's hard to imagine even a solid attempt at humor on his part landing with the WHCD audience. Maybe it will prove a wise choice on Trump's part not to make himself the featured talent of the evening.