The grand finale brings together Hollywood celebrities, politicians, and journalists for a night of laughter and roasting.
Last year, comedian Trevor Noah headlined the event where he poked fun at President Joe Biden, former President Donald Trump, politicians, and the media.
“This is truly the golden era of conspiracy theories,” Noah said. “Whether it’s the right wing believing Trump can still win the 2020 election, or the left believing Joe Biden can still win the 2024 election.
The White House Correspondents’ Association, an organization of journalists, was formed in 1914 to maintain transparency between the White House and the American people.
“We are there asking these questions, asking questions that the White House doesn’t always like on behalf of the American people,” said Tamara Keith, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association. “We are there as representatives of the American people.”
The first White House Correspondents Dinner took place in 1921 and was formed by a group of fifty white men.
“When this dinner started out, it was a private club basically, a private dinner with journalists and the president,” Keith said. “And guess what? Women were not allowed to attend. Or later, the wives could watch from a balcony or something.”
It wasn’t until over a hundred years later that the association’s largest fundraiser was established. They raise money for scholarships and honor journalists’ achievements.
“This dinner has come a long way,” Keith said. “There is no doubt that the White House Correspondents’ Association has a history of being exclusionary but we have moved well past that including honoring some of the very people who were excluded early on by naming awards after them and scholarships.”
Today, presidents roast themselves and others in attendance.
“The very first president to attend the White House Correspondents’ Dinner was Calvin Coolidge in 1924. I had just been elected to the United States Senate,” Biden joked last year.
In previous years, former President Bill Clinton joked with Jay Leno, saying that together they gave hope to gray-haired, chunky baby boomers everywhere. It is even suggested that former President Donald Trump was inspired to run after Seth Meyers joked about his candidacy in 2011.
This year’s theme focuses on journalists who have been detained overseas.
Daily Show correspondent Roy Wood Jr. will headline, where he will undoubtedly address Biden’s bid to run again in 2024, as well as roasted some of the news media.
“We are written into the constitution. We are written into the fabric of American democracy and even though everybody loves to hate this dinner,” Keith said. “It is a really big platform to hold up the importance of a free and independent press.”