Things You Didn’t See at Samantha Bee's Not the White House Correspondents' Dinner and After-Party

by Elliott Smith 5:01 PM PDT, April 30, 2017
Photo: Getty Images

Samantha Bee’s pull-no-punches Not the White House Correspondents' Dinner on April 29 was billed as a celebration of journalism and the scribes who practice it, but it was also a golden opportunity for the sharp-witted host of TBS’ Full Frontal to unleash her barbs against certain segments of the news media and President Donald Trump.  

MORE: The Necessary Urgency of 'Full Frontal With Samantha Bee'

By now you’ve seen some of the best bits and jokes from the show, which included Bee’s take on The Man in the High Castle’s alternate-reality timeline with Hillary Clinton winning the election, her pointed evisceration of CNN’s “pundit infestation” under head honcho Jeff Zucker, and the appearance of Will Ferrell as George W. Bush, who gloated that he was no longer the worst president ever.  

But unless you were one of the 2,500 in attendance at DAR Constitution Hall or a guest at the exclusive after-party at the W Hotel across the street from the White House, there were several things that didn’t make it to air. ET was on the scene to highlight a few things you didn’t see from this alternative take on Washington, D.C.’s “Nerd Prom.” 

“I had such a good time tonight,” Bee told ET at the after-party. “Such a good time. For me, it went great.” 

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1. There was record heat in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, which made the red carpet and vestibule of Constitution Hall feel extremely sticky, and even the coolest celebrity guests could be seen fanning and dabbing to keep the sweat off. The jam-packed entrance area also meant that guests like Search Party’s Alia Shawkat and musicians Tegan & Sara were mingling with ticket holders.  

2. During breaks in the taping, which lasted about two hours, Bee would come out and speak to the crowd. “I’ve never stood in front of a crowd this big in my life,” she said. “Is everybody drunk?” 

3. Midway through the taping, staffers began handing out gift bags to the tables, and other staffers started throwing “Free Press” T-shirts into the surrounding crowd, which, like at sporting events, caused a ruckus as fans battled for the swag. “We’ll get you some more,” Bee promised.  

4. Ferrell drew some of the biggest cheers, and a standing ovation, as Bush, but when asked about his appearance at the after-party, the affable comedian said, “Only George W. Bush was here today. Will Ferrell was not able to make it.”

5. At the end of the taping, a visibly emotional Bee celebrated with her fellow cast members and shouted out the fans in attendance, saying, “We couldn’t have done this without you. Let’s all make out after the show!” 

6. The after-party was held on the rooftop of the swanky W, which offers picturesque views of the nation’s capital. The free-flowing drinks included specialties like the Nasty Woman and Bad Hombre, and there were booths available that allowed guests to “drunk dial” their local representatives.  

7. Many of the celebrities at the dinner also came to the W. Ali Larter and her husband, Angie Tribeca star Hayes MacArthur, had made a quick change from their formal outfits but were happy to be a part of the festivities. “I’m a huge fan of Samantha Bee and I feel like she’s giving a voice to a lot of people that don’t have it, and I think she’s saying things that people want to sweep under the carpet,” Larter said. “I think she’s loud and inappropriate in a time when we desperately need that.” 

8. Other famous faces in the crowd included Bee’s husband, The Detour star Jason Jones, comedians Retta and Jessica Williams, and Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi, who drew a crowd when she arrived at the party, stopping to take a picture and chat with former SNL member Ana Gasteyer.  

9. Elvis Costello & The Imposters were the night’s entertainment, taking the stage around 9 p.m. for a rollicking set that had people escaping the humid night for a chance to dance inside the air-conditioned room where the concert took place.  

10. As the guest of honor, Bee created a buzz when she arrived, seemingly stopping every few feet to receive kudos for her performance. When asked by ET how many angry Trump tweets would make the night a success, she laughed and said: “That’s a great question. I don’t know. I don’t think I penetrate him at all.”