The Reliable Source Live

May 07, 2014

Washington Post columnists Helena Andrews and Emily Heil were online to discuss your favorite gossip, celebrity sightings and their recent columns.

Send your hot tips, sightings, and gossip to reliablesource@washpost.com

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Greetings chatters! Last week we had technical issues, so we've got 14 days worth of juicy gossip to gab about. If you hadn't heard this little thing called the White House Correspondents' dinner happened this weekend and Actress Robin Wright wasn't the biggest fan of our questions (you had to be there). Oh, and speaking of the White House (kinda), Monica Lewinsky has broken her silence in a new essay for Vanity Fair. Let's jump right in!

I gotta admit, I felt bad for her and thought that she took way more than her share of the blame for the affair, and continues to wear the Scarlet Letter while Bill has become a bwloved elder statesman. But--how is she supporting herself now? Does she have a regular 9-5 job? Is she living off of interview earnings--she doesn't seem to be in the public eye enough to make a living from it?

Let's hope for her sake, that Vanity Fair's per-word rate is generous. In her forthcoming -- and much talked about -- essay for the mag, Monica Lewinsky talks about how hard it has been for her to find a job, given that scarlet letter you mention. Potential employers, she writes, have been skittish. She also complains that many jobs would have required her to be around the media -- something she's avoided -- but I can think of plenty of gigs that don't require any interaction with the press. 

She's tried a few career paths that didn't work out -- remember that handbag line? And the reality show she hosted? There's also long been a rumor that she's shopping a book, but no word on that.  

What is te reliable souce?

The Reliable Source is a 22-year-old gossip column that runs Monday through Friday on Page 2 of the Style Section in the Washington Post. We write about the "b-side" of Washington D.C., covering gossip, celebrity sightings, politicians, Chris Brown and more. 

Please please please tell me we're not going to start seeing more Rhianna-esque plumber crack dresses on red carpets...

I wish someone had worn something that... uh... edgy to the White House Correspondents Dinner. Doubtless, some of the "Rihanna-bes" will ape the style, but I'm hoping that anyone sane will find it as icky as I do. 

So who was funnier? Obama or McHale?

I'd say the president was funnier. He kills pretty much every year. That "Orange is the New Black" line about John Boehner and Republicans brought the house down. It was spot on. For his part comedian and talk show host Joel McHale wasn't too shabby. That extended Chris Christie joke (minus the fat shaming) was his definitely his zinger of the night. 

I'd agree, though I think the president has it easier, since there's a lower bar for him, compared to a professional comic. The most interesting part about the who-was-funny analysis is the difference between how jokes go over in the room, and how they go over to a TV audience. 

From inside the room, McHale seemed funnier than he did based on the reviews from folks who weren't there. 

Who do you guys think killed? 

Who was the weirdest visiting celebrity that you met? Are they all shorter in person?

If TV adds ten pounds then it also adds about 10 inches. I didn't met any "weird" celebs but the "most fun" was definitely Eric Stonestreet of "Modern Family" he seriously danced alllll night. 

I was hoping to see a live replay of that video he did with Zach (sorry, I cannot spell his last name). That had Republicans up in arms about how it was "not dignified for a sitting President to do comedy." Do they not remember that Nixon did Laugh_in (am I showing my age) or that Bush, Jr. once went on the Daily Show and almost every President in the late 20th and this century has been on the Tonight Show or Letterman? Was it really about "dignity," or that the President's goal was accomplished--getting a million young people to sign up for the ACA? Imagine how many more he could have gotten had he replayed his act with Zach at the dinner!

The President actually did make reference to the "Between Two Ferns" interview with Zach Galapagos (that's how you spell it, right?) at his WHCD speech. At the beginning, he summoned to guys carrying big ferns, which they placed on either side of him. 

Dignity is a moving target, don't you think? Changes all the time. Someday, we will have a female president whose name ends with an "i". Just sayin'. 

I'm curious whether you noticed any of the butts of the jokes looking at all uncomfortable or embarrassed? Also, were all of the subjects of the jokes actually present at the dinner?

I didn't see any uncomfortable butts. There were a lot of punchlines aimed at folks at the dinner from the entire staff at CNN to the folks at Fox News to Arianna Huffington. Mostly everyone in the room knows that the president plans on roasted everyone in the room. There were plenty of  "ooo burn" moments but no one was openly offended as far as I could tell. Chris Christie even posed for a picture with Joel McHale afterward. Talk about a good sport (at least for the night). 

She didn't treat you that nicely, huh ? I guess a little Sean Penn did rub off on her after all.

Really Robin Wright wasn't super terrible to us--just not very nice. Also, it was clear that she was purposely evading our questions, which seemed weird seeing as how pretty much every celebrity in town for the WHCD knows they'll get a bevy of questions. And we weren't the ones who requested that interview.  The night before we had a lovely chat with Tony Goldwyn of  "Scandal" and Michael Kelly of "House of Cards" was really excited to chat with me about politics meets television just an hour prior to our Wright interview. Add to that the fact that she bragged to other Washington Post reporters about how she wouldn't answer our "conservative" questions and the whole experience left a bad taste. 

I almost didn't recognize Chris Christie from that photo with McHale that you mentioned. I initially thought that it was some guy who looks a lot like that what Christie would look like if he lost about 100 pounds. Then I realized that that it WAS Christie. How can anybody make fat jokes about him now? He looks fantastic, and not much heavier than Bill Clinton was during his presidency, back in the day when he ate fries with everything (not that I'm criticizing). And why are adults making fat jokes anyway?

Yeah, the fat jokes went flat (see what I did there?) in part because the governor actually looked much more svelte than we've seen him before. Which just goes to show you how caricatures stick around. No matter WHAT shade John Boehner is at any given moment, in political jokes, he will always be orange.

Now, should adults make fat jokes? Sure, adult comedians make all kinds of jokes that aren't appropriate, say, in business meetings. So I'm not saying these particular jokes were funny or on-target, but I'm OK defending the right of comedians writ large (or extra large) to make jokes about just about anything. 

In order to bridge the weight gap, I think Christie hired a double to play him...

A bridge joke! Now that's good...

My reaction was - Man, he's a lot shorter than I thought !

I know it's a cliche, but always think that about people I've only seen on TV/movies and then see in real life. You know who I saw this weekend at WHCD who was actually taller than I expected? Joe Manganiello, from Magic Mike and True Blood. So tall! 

I get (sort of) why actors who are in D.C.-themed shows or movies would come to the White House Correspondents' dinner. But what's in it for Sofia Vergara and others like her? Don't they get enough publicity??

There is no such thing! Also, I think actors and other Hollywood types have a certain curiosity about Washington. So it's a win-win: they flack themselves and their shows and get to ogle official washington. 

OK, that's a wrap for this week. Thanks for gabbing WHCD and more with us. Join us back here next week for more dish. Come hungry! 

In This Chat
Helena Andrews
Helena Andrews is the co-author of The Reliable Source. Follow her on Twitter @helena_andrews.
Emily Heil
Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen. Follow her on Twitter @emilyaheil,
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