News & Politics

Washingtonian Today: Will Ron Chernow Rap During the WHCD?

Photograph by Evy Mages

About Washingtonian Today

Washingtonian Today is not just another political news roundup. Instead, this daily morning brief provides local context on national news, catches you up on what’s happening at Washingtonian, points you toward super duper awesome things to do around town, and lets you in on some special events going on in-house. Sign up here to receive Washingtonian Today in your inbox every morning.

There won’t be a comedian to jab at the President at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner this year, and the President won’t be there anyway. What does this mean for the tradition of Washington humor, whatever that may be? “If we were to list the potential victims of our present era of post-humor comedy, his name would be near the top,” Andrew Ferguson writes in The Atlantic about featured guest Ron Chernow, the historian who’ll headline this year’s event. The Washington Post’s Emily Heil argues that the WHCD has been losing its humor juice over the years. There is a small part of me that hopes Chernow just starts walking in circles and rapping about the First Amendment. Ron, I know you’re reading this, so I’d like to reassure you that one-to-two-glasses-of-average-white-wine-Brittany, sitting way back in the cheap seats, would definitely be entertained.

Last night, I attended the Washington Women in Journalism Awards, a truly heartwarming ceremony honoring four wonderful people co-host Gloria Dittus nicknamed the A-Team: Andrea Mitchell, Amanda Terkel, Abby Phillip, and Ashley Parker. All four women nearly moved me to tears when they spoke about the weights they carried so that younger women journalists like me can walk a little lighter. How inspirational, how moving, how empowering it is to see reporters often up against insurmountable preconceptions shed the expectations of, frankly, men who underestimate them. Thank you, Andrea, Amanda, Abby, and Ashley, for continuing to clear the path for people like me. Representation, as well as the groundbreaking work you all do, matters.

Happy Friday, I am your author who has seen Hamilton and can probably pinch hit for Chernow if he has stage fright, Brittany Shepherd ( Will Peischel ( contributed reporting today. If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to this newsletter.

Sweetgreen is finally ending the social experiment that gauges how annoying the salad chain can possibly be for people who forgot their wallet but remembered cash. (Or, more pressingly, for those who don’t have credit or debit cards.) For two years, the fast-casual chain banned all cash transactions with the goals of more convenient service and a smaller carbon footprint (no more armored car visits). But by the end of 2019, your legal tender will be acceptable again.

In annoying commuting news…Metro is trying to help you forget it’s shutting down every Blue and Yellow line station below Regan National Airport this summer by offering free parking at the Franconia-Springfield, Huntington and Van Dorn Street stops. Hooray, I’ll get to ride a shuttle bus, said no one ever.

Have a question about what to do for Mother’s Day? Need to avoid annoying people crowding restaurants because of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner?  Or maybe you just need a dinner recommendation. Join food critic Ann Limpert today at 11 for her weekly chat with readers. You can leave a question in advance now.

What we have cooking at Washingtonian:

Our pick for things to do around town:

CONVENTION Get your nerd on at the seventh Awesome Con at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Check out everything from comics to cosplay to gaming tournaments to TV and film; young fans can enjoy hands-on activities at Awesome Con Jr. This year’s Awesome Con again features several niche segments: the Smithsonian partnership Future Con embraces science fiction with tech demonstrations and other expert talks and Pride Alley celebrates LGBTQ creators and fans with special panel discussions on diversity. In addition to a really hefty schedule of panels and special events, there’s also a long list of celebrity guests, including Val Kilmer, Riverdale’s Cole Sprouse and KJ Apa, The Punisher’s Jon Bernthal, This Is Us’s Milo Ventimiglia, and The Princess Bride’s Cary Elwes. Through April 28. Single day tickets: $40-$55; 3-day weekend pass: $80 (note that autographs and photo ops are sold separately).

Good reads:

Big events from Washingtonian:

Sip sip rosé! Join us as we toast to spring at our Rosé Soirée on Thursday, May 16, at Long View Gallery! It will be an evening full of wine from local and national vendors, light bites, and music. Use code sipsiprose for 15 percent off your ticket at

An evening under the sea: We’re celebrating the best restaurants in the Washington area at Best of Washington, presented by Lexus, on Thursday, June 6, at the National Building Museum. Tickets are selling fast to the kick-off party of the summer, so get yours today at Want 20 percent off your tickets? Use code bestofbrittany.

Staff Writer

Brittany Shepherd covers the societal and cultural scene in political Washington. Before joining Washingtonian as a staff writer in 2018, Brittany was a White House Correspondent for Independent Journal Review. While she has lived in DC for a number of years now, she still yearns for the fresh Long Island bagels of home. Find her on Twitter, often prattling on about Frasier.