Samantha Bee’s Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner – an alternative event to honor journalists and the free press – aired Saturday with plenty of surprises. The biggest reveal of the evening was probably Will Ferrell’s return as 43rd President George W. Bush but the night’s tone-setter ended up feeling more powerful. That honor went to Emmy-winning powerhouse Allison Janney, who revived her West Wing character C.J. Cregg to rant a little about “journalists.”
From her place behind the press briefing room podium, Janney fielded questions from an increasingly bonkers group. Among the highlights: A survivialist who drinks his own urine, an obvious Russian infiltrator and a kid in his dad’s suit who’s clearly from Breitbart. Finally, she explains that this “morally bankrupt gang” of “monsters” is the reason real journalists keep having to fight so hard to be heard above all the “fake news” noise. Then she disintegrates someone with her stare, obviously.
The West Wing has been off the air since 2006 but Janney still brushes off C.J. for special occasions, including once in the actual White House Briefing Room. It feels like it’s time to make this a regular thing, though. Every week, Janney could come out, yell at conspiracy theorist bloggers, neo-Nazi nutjobs and radio show hosts calling in to the press room via Skype. Then one of them gets disintegrated. It’s informative and entertaining. Let’s make that happen.