Would You Like Some Dinner With Your Prom?

One of the more intersting aspects of Prom Weekend is the fact that the main event–the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner–is one of the least anticipated events (despite how hard it can be to score a $175 ticket). While those who didn’t get in headed off to the neighborhood bars to watch the event on TV and wait for the after-parties, others trudged into the dinner to eat antipasto, mustard-rubbed filet mignon, sea bass, risotto, warm English sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce while sipping on Copperidge Chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon.

Isaiah Washington from “Grey’s Anatomy” and some other guy :

Seated at the head table were Ken Walsh, Helen Thomas, Stephen Colbert, Terry Hunt, First Lady Laura Bush, Tom Curley, President Bush, White House Correspondents’ Association President Mark Smith, Steve Scully, Ann Compton, Tony Snow, Steve Holland, Scott McClellan, Jim Angle, Doug Mills, Ken Herman and Kevin Goldberg.

(It was hard not to notice that Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame had a table right in front of the president. Awkward.)

And a Washington event just wouldn’t be a Washington event without…

Ron Silver (with the Examiner’s Bill Sammon and Ann Coulter).

Oh, yeah, and weren’t there, like, some awards handed out or something?

  • The Edgar A. Poe Award, for events of national or regional importance: Copley’s Marcus Stern and Jerry Kramer for their coverage of “Duke” Cunningham‘s fall from grace.

  • The Merriman Smith Memorial Award for excellence in presidential news coverage: AP’s Dan Riechmann won the print news award for her coverage of John Roberts’ Supreme Court nomination. ABC’s Terry Moran won in the broadcast division.

  • Laisha Doughterty and Angela King, both from Washington’s School Without Walls, won scholarships, along with Douglas Jackson-Quazac (University of Maryland).

  • The Aldo Beckman Award: National Journal’s Carl Cannon.

    Steve Scully somehow appeared to be the most popular man in the room, with his own personal cheering section and some of the loudest applause of the evening (perhaps it was his large family: We learned that he is the 14th of 16 siblings. Plus he thanked his mom–that’s always good for a cheer.

    The consensus in the room was that…

    a.) President Bush looked, per usual, enormously unhappy to be there.

    b.) President’s side-by-side skit with comedian (and Bush impersonator Steve Bridges)..

    …was absolutely hilarious (Dick [Cheney] is a good man. He has a good heart….Well, he’s a good man.” – President Bush). See Elisabeth Bumiller’s behind-the-scenes reporting on the skit here.

    c.) Stephen Colbert turned in a mediocre performance (one of his better lines: “”If anyone needs anything from your tables, just speak slowly and clearly into your numbers and someone from the NSA will be there shortly.”). His schtick didn’t bring down the house, perhaps, in part, because he was speaking to a house–3000 guests in the loud and chatty venue. But his fake pundit schtick wasn’t a natural fit for the kind of stand-up comedy format that works best at these events. Plus he was recycling a lot of jokes. Next candidate for his “Who’s Not Honoring Me Now” segment will probably be the White House Correspondents’ Association. (One reader wrote in: “Colbert was BORING, Nasty and kinda dumb. Embarassing!!! Is he just not as smart as I thought? Who wrote his lines? Too much or not enough help? Bush was more clever.”)

    Of course, your ability to judge Colbert was dependent on whether you actually stuck around to see it or left early to avoid the long lines at the Bloomberg party…