Watch the White House Correspondents' Dinner

White House Correspondents Dinner General - Getty - H 2017
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There will be a thinner presence of celebrities and other famous faces this year, due to President Trump's absence.

The annual gala dinner of the White House Correspondents' Association is taking place on Saturday night without its traditional star.

President Donald Trump has decided to skip the event — where he'd be a prime target of biting humor. Instead, he offered a bit of counterprogramming by hosting a rally in Pennsylvania celebrating his first 100 days in office. While speaking to the crowd, Trump bashed the media and the night's impending dinner.

"As you may know, there's another big gathering taking place tonight in Washington, D.C.," said Trump. "A large group of Hollywood actors and Washington media are consoling each other in a hotel ballroom in our nation's capital right now. ... I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles away from Washington [and] spending my evening with all of you and with a much, much larger crowd and much better people."

In recent years, hordes of celebrities have attended the dinner as guests of media outlets. That's not the case this year, and the gathering is focusing on the First Amendment and the crucial role of the press in democracy.

There will be an entertainer as master of ceremonies: Hasan Minhaj of Comedy Central's The Daily Show. The scheduled headliners are Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who are set to present journalism awards. Woodward told The Washington Post the two planned to speak about "the First Amendment and the importance of aggressive but fair reporting."

The once-glitzy event, dubbed "nerd prom," was briefly overshadowed by late-night TV's Samantha Bee, who also hosted counterprogramming with her Not the White House Correspondents' Dinner. Bee's show is a comedic tribute to American news organizations, and features actor Will Ferrell and other guests roasting Trump and his allies. The show, taped earlier Saturday, airs 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on TBS.

The last president to decline an invitation to the White House Correspondents' dinner was Ronald Reagan in 1981 — when he was recovering from an assassination attempt.

The dinner airs on C-SPAN at 9:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. PT.  Watch Minhaj's full speech below.