Pop culture meets politics: Trashwire returns to the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner

Check out the Trashwire Blog for full-size versions and additional pics.

Alexis Gentry with Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt

The annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner in Washington D.C. can be one of the most bizarre and surreal events of the year. Where else are you going to be able to chat with Henry Kissinger and Heidi Montag in the same room?

This year’s event marked the fourth time Trashwire has covered the pre-party scene and, as usual, it didn’t disappoint.

The list of celebrity attendees was across the board, ranging from frequent guest like the beautiful Morgan Fairchild (who has attended more than 10 times) to WHCAD newbies like Dennis Hof, owner of Nevada’s Moonlight Bunny Ranch.

Alexis Gentry with Joel McHaleTo my pleasant surprise, the guest list seemed to favor humor with comedy stars like Joel McHale (host of The Soup on E!), Harold and Kumar‘s Kal Penn, B.J. Novak of The Office, SNL star Will Forte, and comedienne Tracey Ullman packing into the various ballrooms in the basement of the Washington Hilton. The dinner was even hosted by late night show host Craig Ferguson, who recently became a US citizen and joked about his new right to complain.

Alexis Gentry with Perez HitonThe star-studded event also included movie stars like Aaron Eckhart of Thank You For Smoking and The Dark Knight, British actors Rupert Everett and Colin Firth, moguls like Martha Stewart, journalists from Katie Couric to Charlie Rose, hot blondes Jenny McCarthy and Pam Anderson, everyone’s favorite blogger Perez Hilton, teen music superstars The Jonas Brothers and even an appearance from a possibly pregnant Ashlee Simpson and fiance Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy.

Instead of doing a play-by-play of the pre-event parties, I’ve decided to change it up and give yearbook-style superlatives for some of my most memorable interactions of the evening.

Alexis Gentry with Aaron EckhartThe Derek Zoolander award for most “really, really, ridiculously good looking”: Aaron Eckhart
There are celebrities who are hotter on screen than they are in real life, and then there are guys like Aaron Eckhart. Spotting Eckhart was easy because he was so handsome amongst the crowd that it was kind of like the infrared vision in Predator. Thankfully, he wasn’t just a pretty face, he was also really friendly. When I mentioned that I absolutely loved him in Thank You For Smoking and that I had seen and reviewed the film at a pre-screening in DC, he rolled up the sleeve of his jacket and said, “Check this out.” before pointing to a cufflink that was engraved with “TYFS”. As we talked a bit more about the pre-screening, he sang the praises of TYFS director Jason Reitman saying that Reitman was “a real talent”. Eckhart’s chiseled features and classic Hollywood smile make him a shoe-in for this year’s Prom King.

Alexis Gentry with Will ForteThe “BFF” award for friendliest celebrity: Tie – Joel McHale and Will Forte
Both McHale and Forte were approachable, engaging and genuinely friendly. I was able to chat with McHale about how much I love The Soup (and I really do watch it religiously) and even take a picture with him while he patiently waited for me to dig my business card out from the depths of my purse. Forte was equally warm when I spoke to him, giving him my business card and telling him a little about Trashwire. He even remarked, “Well then Trashwire.com is my new favorite website.”

Alexis Gentry with BJ NovakMost likely to succeed: B.J. Novak
Perhaps the name of the award should be “most likely to keep on succeeding” because B.J. Novak is not only one of the stars of The Office, but is also a writer and producer on the show. Novak spent most of the night in a well-deserved spot in the VIP section of one of the pre-parties, but I was able to snap a quick picture with him and tell him about Trashwire. He was personable and definitely an over-all cool guy.

Pat Sue Gentry with Donatella VersaceBest dressed: Donatella Versace
Although each year there are beautiful designer gowns, this year’s best dressed guest has got to be Donatella Versace because… well, she’s Donatella Versace. Despite the infamously over-the-top portrayal of Versace by SNL‘s Maya Rudolph, she was actually kind of quiet and almost shy, standing towards the back of the VIP section. When Pat Sue and I approached her to get a picture, I half expected her to scream “Gheeet ouuuuuuut!”, but instead she smiled and posed for the shot.

Alexis Gentry with Kal PennSix degrees of Trashwire: Kal Penn
This category is for people we probably should have met years ago because we have posted items about them or about their friends on the site in the past. If you go back through our blog archives, you can see that we posted a YouTube video from The Lonely Island starring Penn as a potential murder victim with OCD. Not only that, but Most Trashwire readers love Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle and I even studied the story structure of the film for screenwriting class in college. It’s worth noting that Penn is way hot in person and was the runner up for the “really, really, ridiculously good looking” category.

Pat Sue Gentry and Dennis HofThe most unexpected guest at a White House-related event: Dennis Hof of HBO’s Cathouse
There are always unusual appearances from celebrities who seem to have little connection to politics or journalism. The first year I ever braved the DC humidity and made my way to the hotel, it was to see South Park co-creator Trey Parker, who was a guest of one of the publications. While a guy from Colorado with a foul-mouthed cartoon might have seemed like the weirdest guest, that record was shattered this year when legal pimp Dennis Hof appeared on the red carpet. You would think that, in this post-Spitzer world, politics would be trying to distance itself from prostitution, but the publication that invited Hof must have a wonderful sense of humor. And speaking of a sense of humor, Hof had a great one himself when my buxom mother joked that she could put world-famous working girl Air Force Amy out of business. Hof was extremely friendly and quite the gentleman, which may come as a surprise given his profession. Still, I can’t help but wonder, if superstars of the sex industry are invited, maybe there’s hope that next year I’ll see Jenna Jameson.

It seems like the entire country is breathing a sigh of relief as we near the end of the Bush administration and the laid back vibe could be felt through out the crowd. Everyone was more approachable and personable than in years past and it was easy to feel comfortable in such a lighthearted environment. The celebrity guests seemed to be plucked from all ends of the pop culture universe in Trashwire’s fourth year of attending the parties and, like the contestants in Big Brother, we can no doubt “expect the unexpected” for year number five.

Check out the Trashwire Blog for full-size versions and additional pics.

Comments

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Alexis Gentry

Alexis Gentry is the creator and editor of Trashwire.com. She has been called a “dynamic, talented and unique voice in pop culture” by Ben Lyons of E! and, with her strong fascination with entertainment and penchant for writing, it’s not hard to see why.

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13 Responses

  1. I know this is an impressive list of celebrities…but Joel McHale?! He’s awesome! I LOVE him on The Soup! He seems like he’d be really laid-back and cool.

  2. Juli says:

    Ladies, first of all I loved the pics… I got the site through Perezhilton.com and was hoping to see LC.
    And, with all due respect I will suggest just one thing… that next time you ladies attend a gala like this one-THAT YOU PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE get your hair done professionally!

    I’m sorry but that was soooo distracting. Seeing the celebrities so well groomed BUT your hair…

    Sorry just had to give you ladies the needed advice as I hope to receive when I go out in public like that

    Juli

    I’m sorry but that was soooo distracting. Seeing the celebrities so well groomed BUT your hair…

    Sorry just had to give you guys advice as I hope I get real advice when I go out in public like that

    Juli

  3. Dean says:

    You guys meeting Joel McHale, Perez Hilton, and BJ Novak is pretty awesome. Did you discuss politics w/ the hollywood celebrities and discuss entertainment w/ the politicians? 🙂

  4. TheArtistFormerlyKnowsAsMsBellato says:

    you are so rude!!!! why can’t you just be nice? who cares what there hair looks like when they got great pictures with people like joel mchale and kal penn? i think they look good and that you are a bitch for saying that

  5. Alexis Gentry says:

    Juli,

    We DID get our hair done. The problem was that it was very humid and rainy in DC that day and a huge portion of the festivities take place outside. Being half black, any kind of moisture makes my hair go from straight to big frizzy afro in a matter of seconds, and that was pretty much what happened.

    -Alexis
    TRASHWIRE.COM

  6. Hilldog says:

    Well done ladies!!! I have seen your pics from years past and it looks like you out did yourselves. I also loved how you gave the “high school year book” break down of the events. Not sure I would want my mom and Dennis Hoff in the same room, much less arm and arm.
    Oh and for the record, your hair didn’t distract me at all. Great pics!!!

  7. Alexis Gentry says:

    Martha Stewart posted pictures from the event on her blog, you can view them here:
    http://blogs1.marthastewart.com/martha/2008/04/white-house.html

    She got a ton of shots of the Jonas Brothers, but also a lot of shots with some very heavy hitters you might nit recognize.

    -Alexis
    TRASHWIRE.COM

  8. Leslie Madsen says:

    Alexis: love the commentary and pictures that accompanied the ultimate in HOB NOBERY!!!

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