What if they gave a White House Correspondents’ Dinner and nobody came? Well, that’s not going to happen tonight, but there is one big void at the D.C. event: Donald Trump will be the first president to skip the annual to-do since Ronald Reagan was recovering from his assassination attempt in 1981. Really, Don? Bad (or sick) guy! SAD!! Oops, sorry.

AP

Instead, POTUS spent a chunk of his 100th day in office at a campaign-like rally a couple hours north in Harrisburg, PA. There he bashed the media, Hollywood, puppies, rainbows and the WCHD itself, calling it, in typically articulate fashion “very, very boring.” But while Trump is avoiding being insulted and mocked to his face this year, he told Reuters recently that he might attend next year — or not.

We’ve known since February that Trump and members of his administration were boycotting tonight’s dinner, and many media outlets since have canceled their pre- and post-WCHD parties in an effort to focus on the dinner and the 103-year-old White House Correspondents’ Association.

The Daily Show correspondent Hasan Minhaj is providing the entertainment tonight at the Washington Hilton, which has hosted the event for each of the past 50 years. Watch the WCHD livestream here and follow along with Deadline’s live blog below.

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20176:27 pm

Welcome to Deadline’s live blog of the 2017 White House Correspondents’ Dinner. 

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20176:32 pm

Comedy relief provider Hasan Minhaj of The Daily Show will provide tonight’s entertainment, a year after Larry Wilmore used a “colloquialism” to describe then-President Obama.

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20176:33 pm

Wilmore had a rough go at the 2016 event, but then Ol’ Dependable Obama took the room to another level with his unforced humor and a literal mic drop. 

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20176:33 pm

Who can forget him ending with “Obama out.”

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20176:33 pm

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20176:34 pm

Not sure how tonight is going to play out, as we’ve heard talk that it won’t be a nonstop bashfest of the absent POUTS and his first 100 days in office.

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20176:35 pm

But that doesn’t mean there won’t be a few zingers here and there — and ideally everywhere. We’ll try to keep things interesting here while they hand out scholarship and such at the Hilton.

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20176:35 pm

Still waiting for this thing to start.

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20176:40 pm

Pre-show talking about Nixon’s infamous showdown with the Washington media in 1973. “One can only be angry with those he respects.” Big smile. Oof.

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20176:41 pm

Reagan talking about “1,700 daily newspapers” following the president. That was the ’80s — talk about “trickle-down.”

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20176:43 pm

“You’re not supposed to be sycophants, you’re supposed to be skeptics,” Obama told the White House press corps a few years back. Sure seems like longer ago than that… 

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20176:43 pm

Let’s gets this fractured party started.

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20176:45 pm

“We are here to celebrate the press, not the president,” WHCA president Jeff Mason says. No wonder Trump skipped it.

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20176:47 pm

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20176:47 pm

What, no flag lapel pins? These sleazy anti-American journalists. 

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20176:48 pm

WHCA chief just drew a standing ovation with this line: “We are not the enemy of the American people.” 

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20176:49 pm

Roughly 47% of the U.S. population disagrees with that.

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20176:49 pm

Woodward and Bernstein are in the house but not all the president’s men.

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20176:52 pm

Another standing-O for the 2017 WHCA scholars. Two questions for these budding journalists: Isn’t journalism the sociology major of the 2010s? Do you parents know you’re getting into this field? 

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20176:54 pm

On a day when we mark the 25th anniversary of the start of the Los Angeles riots, let’s hope they burn-baby-burn the current administration.

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20176:55 pm

Although WHCA’s Mason is aptly named because he’s about as exciting a speaker as watching grout harden.

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20176:56 pm

Oh, “pool reports” — I thought he said, “Everybody into the pool.” Damn…

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20176:58 pm

The moment Obama heard that Trump was boycotting tonight’s WHCD:

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:00 pm

That was the tease-iest Alec Baldwin video appearance ever.

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:03 pm

WHCA exec director Julie Whiston retiring after a quarter-century. Even she couldn’t deal with this administration.

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:05 pm

Wait, maybe that’s Melissa McCarthy impersonating Jeff Mason. Now I get it!

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:06 pm

OK, really, time to move on, folks. The midterms elections are looming.

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:08 pm

Jeff Mason’s two most-applauded words: “And lastly…” (OK, not true but apt.)

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:09 pm

And if you came here looking for snark about what the press corps people are wearing — or who they are wearing — you’ve come to the wrong place. To me, they look like, y’know, clothes.

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:10 pm

Hey Jeff, don’t start by saying Woodward and Bernstein need no introduction and then give one. Sheesh.

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:10 pm

OK, these guys are 1 and 1A on the White House investigative journalism Mount Rushmore. 

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:11 pm

Bernstein we see on CNN frequently, but Woodward has been less visible. Good to see them together.

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:12 pm

Bernstein on Nixon: “We tried to ignore the noise and let the reporting speak.”

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:13 pm

“Unreasonable government secrecy is the enemy.” OK, but the line where government secrecy becomes reasonable is a dodgy one.

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:14 pm

Shout-out to Mark Felt. RIP “Deep Throat.”

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:16 pm

Bernstein: “The people with the information we want should not be pigeonholed or pre-judged by their ideology or their politics. Almost all of our sources in Watergate were people who had at one time or another been committed to Richard Nixon and his presidency.”

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:18 pm

Great lines — and they remind me of one of maybe three French phrases I know: “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.”

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:18 pm

Woodward at the mic.

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:19 pm

Yeah, ol Bob’s not a riveting orator either. But I’d listen to this journalist read local cop logs.

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:23 pm

Woodward touts Ben Bradlee who “gave us the precious luxury of time to pursue all leads, even something small. Now, in 2017, the impatience and speed of the Internet and our own rush can disable and undermine the most important tool of journalism.” Will that fit on a T-shirt? I want to market them.

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:24 pm

And Fox News picks this quote to tweet out:

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:24 pm

“Mr. President, the media is not fake news.” But maybe it’s alternative facts?

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:25 pm

To FNC’s credit, they also just tweeted this:

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:26 pm

Nicely done, Woodward and Bernstein. Hoping against hope that Redford and Hoffman crash the place.

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:30 pm

OK, here comes the professional comic. Let’s move this to the next level, please.

“Ladies and gentlemen, Hasan Minhaj.”

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:31 pm

“Welcome to the series finale of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.”

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:31 pm

First presidential shout-out goes to Obama. 

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:32 pm

“What is Comedy Central? It’s basically an internship for Netflix.”
Like Saturday Night Live is an internship for NBC.

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:33 pm

“I was explicitly told not to go after the administration,” Minhaj says. Ugh.

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:34 pm

USA Today jokes aren’t exactly fresh. Not like the one about when the paper won its first Pulitzer — for Best Investigative Paragraph.

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:34 pm

“The leader of our country is not here — because he lives in Moscow.” Ding!

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:35 pm

OK, let the Trump roasting begin!

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:36 pm

Ooh, tough crowd. Reminds of last year when Larry Witmore had a rough go of it.

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:36 pm

To the journalists: “The longer you keep Trump distracted, the longer we’re not at war with North Korea.”

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:37 pm

“Even if you guys groan, I’ve already hired Kellyanne Conway to go on TV Monday and tell everyone I killed.”

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:37 pm

Bernstien laughing at the head table.

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:39 pm

Frederick Douglass and Mike Pence jokes go over like a Democratic pollster at a Ted Nugent concert.

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:41 pm

Minhaj is doing pretty well. “Jeff Session couldn’t be here tonight — he was busy doing a pre-Civil War re-enactment. ON his RSVP, he just wrote no, which happens to be his second-favorite N word.”

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:41 pm

“Nate Silver told me there was a 74.1% chance of that joke killing.”

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:42 pm

Wide-eyed Minhaj giving it his best, but the crowd is just too … something. Unbiased, maybe?

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:43 pm

Kudos to the director for finding reaction shots of people laughing in the crowd.

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:44 pm

Fox News jokes. O’Reilly jokes. Watters jokes. More, please.

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:46 pm

Jokes about MSNBC’s obsession with prison shows are great. C’mon, crowd. Have some more champagne.

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:46 pm

“I have a lot more MSNBC jokes, but if I just stand up here and ramble on, I might get a show on MSNBC.”

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:47 pm

CNN gags about its obsession with breaking news coulda been better.

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:47 pm

“Let’s go to the countdown clock to the next countdown clock.” WINNER!

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:49 pm

OK, Fox News — or should we call you Fox Pick and Choose?

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:50 pm

Doesn’t this look like Trump is taking a selfie?

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:50 pm

Oh, rough HuffPost roast.

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:52 pm

“This has been one of the strangest events I’ve ever done  in my life,” Minhaj says.

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:55 pm

Minhaj gets a (mostly) standing ovation. Good work up there. 

Erik Pedersen April 29, 20177:56 pm

That’s a wrap at the Washington Hilton. Thanks for following our live blog. We return you now to our regularly scheduled lives.

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