The Day After (the Day After) Nerd Prom

Posted April 30, 2012 at 2:02pm

Contrary to what our livers might tell you, Team HOH survived the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner and all the corresponding festivities. And what a ride it was.

The evening was total chaos, a fustercluck of activity most easily defined as roving bands of celebrities — “Oh my god! That was the cast from ‘True Blood!’”; “Chace Crawford, we love you!” — battling against throngs of starstruck Washingtonians.

People Watching

Political practitioners were also out in full force. But their inside-the-Beltway cachet was clearly diminished by the crush of A-list actors and celebvocates who freely wandered in and out of media-fronted parties, huddled together to discuss potential projects or desperately searched for somewhere/anywhere to sneak a cigarette (sorry life has gotten so hard, LiLo).

We spotted Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) mingling with a joint chief of staff, caught retiring Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) holding court with reporters and overheard Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) discussing his Army days with a fellow grunt.

And we even stumbled upon House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) introducing himself to songstress Mary J. Blige:

Steny Hoyer meeting Mary J. Blige
(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

A couple of lobbyists seemed pleased that former GOP presidential contender Rick Santorum was commanding at least as much attention as “Modern Family” sexpot Sofia Vergara:

Rick Santorum at WHCD pre-party
(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

“He’s taking his victory lap. Good for him!” the Santorum backers quipped. (We must subscribe to a wildly different definition of “victory.”)

Onward we trudged, cautiously advancing from open bar to open bar while watching the civilian-celebrity dance unfold. Folks cornered Gayle King and demanded to know all about Oprah Winfrey.

We pitied poor Reese Witherspoon, who was evidently being paraded around beyond reason. “I can’t walk,” the very preggers star complained to husband, Jim Toth.

We marveled at grown men blubbering about their latest Instagram pics. “How’d it turn out? Oh my god, it turned out great!” one dude assured another after pinning down Ginnifer Goodwin.

We were stunned by the amount of skin so readily on display, be it unabashedly plunging necklines:

Ivanka Trump at WHCD
(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Or prominently displayed ink:

Malin Akerman at WHCD pre-party
(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Others opted against celeb stalking, electing to enjoy the evening with actual acquaintances:

Patronizing the WHCD photo booth
(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

And then there were those who seemed content to simply amuse themselves:

Hipsters at WHCD pre-party
(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)


Once inside the actual ballroom — “Oh, they are checking tickets,” one pair of would-be dinner crashers lamented upon spotting the final security check — reality began sinking in as everyone took stock of their personal worth based on their proximity to the main stage:

WHCD setting
(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

“One year I sat front row … 15 feet from the president,” a clearly bummed actor commented as he slumped into a seat in the upper ring of tables.

After the main event got under way, all eyes naturally drifted toward the head table. President Barack Obama staged a “hot mic” bit where he systematically dinged attendees, including featured comedian Jimmy Kimmel, national punch line Kim Kardashian and the stars of “Glee.” Even absentee VPOTUS Joseph Biden got hit:

POTUS was pretty self-deprecating. But we were most blown away by his double-barreled assault on Sarah Palin and critics of his early childhood dining habits:

“What’s the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bill? A pit bull is delicious,” Obama assured the crowd, to peels of laughter.

“Here, in one room, we have members of the media, politicians, corporate executives, advertisers, lobbyists and celebrities. Everything that is wrong with America is here in this room tonight,” Kimmel asserted.

His most understated line? That’d have to be:

“Mr. President, do you remember when the country rallied around you in hopes of a better tomorrow? That was hilarious.”

“It’s not the Olive Garden state,” Kimmel said, twisting the knife that much deeper.

Recovery Room

Celebs and lawmakers must have slept in Sunday because the only folks we spotted at the Reuters/McLaughlin Group brunch were fellow hacks.

Sunday show vet John McLaughlin was front and center, basking in his former glory:

John McLaughlin at brunch
(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

We honestly didn’t recognize anyone else.

Which made it that much more fun to hear them talk themselves up.

“In many ways, Reuters punches below its core readership …” a competing journo was spouting off to anyone who would listen, literally biting the hand that was feeding us all.

“I almost never drink liquor on Sundays,” a hair-of-the-dog enthusiast rationalized to no one in particular.

“Do you know the ambassador from Liechtenstein?” one theoretical high-roller whispered to a friend.

Our hobnobbing skills totally exhausted, some of us simply paused to collect our thoughts and enjoy the gorgeous view:

Hay Adams rooftop
(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

We now return you to politics as usual. At least until the conventions ramp up.