Conan O’Brien, currently hosting TBS’s “Conan” here in Los Angeles, is in Washington, D.C., prepping to headline Saturday night’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
It’s not Conan’s first time at the dinner — he hosted almost 20 years ago in 1995, when the then 32-year-old performed after recently beginning “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” on NBC. Back before NBC did, well, that thing.
He’ll be going toe-to-toe with the president (and the president’s own comedy writers), as the president also does a comedy routine at these shows each year.
It seems like an appropriate venue for Conan, given that the collection of politicos decked out in their finest has been labeled “nerd prom” by those in the know.
White House Correspondents’ Association president Ed Henry lauded O’Brien when the announcement was made, particularly noting Conan’s online presence.
“As social media has changed all aspects of the media business, Conan has embraced this shifting landscape to become a creative force both online as well as in the traditional television model.”
The dinner has featured a who’s who of comedy, with recent performers including Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers, and Conan archnemesis Jay Leno — who’s performed at the dinner more times than anyone else, though he was criticized during his last appearance for using recycled jokes shortly after his war with Conan went public. Leno first performed at the dinner in 1987, took the ’90s off, then bookended the 2000s, hosting in 2000, 2004 and 2010.
Watch Conan’s first appearance hosting from back in 1995, including an interview with “President Bill Clinton,” as well as the real President Bill Clinton’s own set.
You can also watch an appearance that went viral — when Stephen Colbert delivered some of the all-time harshest political comedy in front of former President George W. Bush: