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Washington, D.C., was abuzz Saturday, as the Peoples Climate March took over the National Mall in the morning and the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, hosted by Hasan Minhaj, broadcast live in the evening.
But inside the DAR Constitution Hall, the decibels of applause rose with the afternoon’s sweltering temperatures, as Samantha Bee taped her first and only Full Frontal With Samantha Bee’s Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, a special that spoofed the official event and aired on TBS later that night.
The Hollywood Reporter recounts the seven things you missed:
1. The first to speak to the press on the preshow purple carpet was Bee herself. Her first thought when she woke up Saturday morning: “‘I’m so relaxed,’ and then I thought, ‘Oh my god, I’m throwing a party! I felt my whole body seize — is that normal?” Bee, wearing a custom black-and-white Altuzarra suit, told THR. The next thing she did: check the news for fresh material.
2. Before the taping, Full Frontal correspondent Allana Harkin reflected on the opportunity to celebrate the press at the event. “There’s never been a time when the press has been more important, and we know that because he’s threatened by them,” she reflected. “People say, ‘A Trump presidency gives your show so much more material,’ but we would trade that in a heartbeat if we could avoid everything that’s been so upsetting.” CNN’s Brianna Keilar added that she was hitting the Trump-less WHCD after Bee’s event: “Today truly is about honoring the First Amendment.”
3. Though the Veep cast broke their tradition and opted out of the official WHCD, Matt Walsh turned up at Bee’s event. “I had no intention of being in Washington, D.C., until receiving Sam’s invite, so I’m truly not protesting the other one,” he explained to THR. “I’m excited for Sam — she’s an old friend and I think it’s cool to counterprogram the [official] event. It’s a rebellious comedic thing to do.” He also noted that his onscreen character is a much more effective press secretary than Sean Spicer: “[Spicer] creates more fires than he went out there to put out, and he doesn’t know when to stop talking. Mike is actually good at the podium. He’s an idiot, but he’s not as bad as Spicer.”
4. Inside the DAR Constitution Hall, guests were served mac ‘n’ cheese bites, beef skewers and brussels sprout salads while perusing tweets on a giant media wall and posing at a photo booth (complete with a presidential podium). The dinner menu listed parmesan-sage popcorn, Moroccan salmon skewers and lemon curd sandwich cookies, among other offerings — and, of course, the Trump-spoofing mini taco bowls. Attendees of the event — which raised nearly $200,000 for the Committee to Protect Journalists — also received metallic SoulCycle gift bags, which held Full Frontal notebooks, T-shirts and Liberty United bracelets made out of recycled gunmetal.
5. “I have never stood in front of a crowd this big in my life!” Bee candidly told the audience during the taping’s first commercial break before thanking them for their support. Throughout the taping, guests received free T-shirts and were introduced to all of the Full Frontal correspondents. After it wrapped, she added, “You were all unbelievable! I don’t think I’ve ever had more fun performing ever than I did tonight.”
6. Will Ferrell — who revived his Saturday Night Live impersonation of George W. Bush at the taping — hit the afterparty at the rooftop space of the W Hotel. Retta, Jessica Williams, Natasha Leggero, Ali Larter and Hayes MacArthur were among those spotted at the bash, which also featured a performance by Elvis Costello. Themed cocktails like the Bad Hombre and the Nasty Woman were available at the bar (alongside blue ACLU ribbons and brightly lit marquee signs), and phones were set up so guests could “Drunk Dial Your Legislators.” At 10 p.m. local time, TVs began screening Bee’s event throughout the venue.
— Ashley Lee (@cashleelee) April 30, 2017
7. Bee changed into a more casual black dress for the afterparty and greeted guests and friends throughout the night. “I truly had a ton of fun, and that’s all I really wanted to do,” she told THR. “Honestly, it’s a splendid feeling. I’m definitely going to enjoy this moment.”
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