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To White House Correspondents Dinner or Not?

ALSO: The Son, The Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, Samantha Bee, Melrose Place, and more
  • Samantha Bee at the Full Frontal White House Correspondents Dinner special
    Samantha Bee at the Full Frontal White House Correspondents Dinner special

    Political comedy has really been through the wringer since Donald Trump was elected president. Initially it seemed like it was more important than ever for comedy to expose the rampant lunacy at play in the Trump administration. Saturday Night Live rode the wave of political comedy all the way to their most high-profile (and Emmy-awarded) season in years. Late-night hosts from Seth Meyers to Trevor Noah to Jimmy Kimmel to Stephen Colbert were judged solely on their success at puncturing Trump. It was a wild and heady time.

    Since then, more than a little fatigue has set in among our hot-button political comedians. Will we’ll still cherish a good Seth Meyers “Closer Look” and while upstarts like Michelle Wolf and Hasan Minhaj keep finding new methods and formats to approach things, there doesn’t seem to be quite as much of a mandate for wall-to-wall comedic resistance to Trump. Which is sometimes nice. It’s been a bit of a relief to watch the other, more esoteric elements of SNL shine through without Alec Baldwin’s Trump in every episode.

    And then there’s the White House Correspondents Dinner situation, the unbearably chummy annual tradition where the Washington D.C. elite and the press they demonize break bread together and listen to some stand-up comedian lightly eviscerate them. In recent years, it’s been a platform that stand-up comedians have been able to use as a springboard to greater success. Then Michelle Wolf showed up and joked about Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and suddenly comedians are outlawed at the dinner, and lo and behold, Samantha Bee’s now-annual Not the White House Correspondents Dinner special is the only game in town.

    POLITICS: If you do find yourself wanting to watch the actual White House Correspondents Dinner, the cable news networks have you covered, with historian and biographer Ron Chernow delivering the comedy-free featured address before an audience that reportedly won't include anyone from the Trump administration7:00 PM ET on C-SPAN

    SPECIAL PRESENTATION: For everybody else, Samantha Bee’s Full Frontal with Samantha Bee: Not the White House Correspondents Dinner will welcome journalists and celebrities alike in a comedic celebration of the First Amendment. 10:00 PM ET on TBS

    SPECIAL PRESENTATION: If politics are not your jam but rather music, head on over to HBO for The 2019 Rock N Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Inductees Janet Jackson, Stevie Nicks, The Cure, Radiohead, Roxy Music, Def Leppard, and the Zombies should make for a barnburner of a show. And that’s before getting into presenters like Janele Monae, Trent Reznor, David Byrne, Harry Styles, and more. 8:00 PM ET on HBO

    SPECIAL: AMC’s western drama The Son returns for a second (and final) season, starring Pierce Brosnan as a 1910s cattle baron who turns an eye towards the lucratve oil industry. In the season 2 premiere, we get a flashback to Eli’s younger days, while as an adult, threats to the oil business abound. 9:00 PM ET on AMC


    • Saturday Night Live is re-airing the Kit Harington-hosted episode, with Sara Bareilles as musical guest. 8:00 PM ET on NBC
    • On Ransom, the team has to deal with a disgraced negotiator who impersonated Eric and threatens to destroy his reputation, in addition to the hotel owner he’s kidnapped. 8:00 PM ET on CBS
    • Saturday marks the 15th anniversary of the landmark Melrose Place episode “The Bitch Is Back,” where Dr. Kimberly Shaw (Marcia Cross) returns from the dead, only to reveal a hideous scar underneath her wig. A seminal moment in TV history if ever there was one, and worth checking out if only for Cross’s brauvura performance as a woman scorned to the point of murderous insanity. Streaming on Hulu

    Joe Reid is the senior writer at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.

    TOPICS: White House Correspondents’ Dinner, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, Melrose Place (1992 series), Saturday Night Live, The Son, Trump Presidency