"D.C. has always been sexy!"
That's what "Scandal" star Kerry Washington said when I asked if she thinks Washington is especially hot right now, given the convergence of buzz-worthy television shows set here now.
In addition to "Scandal," there's "House of Cards," "Homeland," "The Americans" and "VEEP," and their stars roamed the well-appointed rooms and terraces of the French Ambassador's Residence for the Vanity Fair-Bloomberg post-White House Correspondents Dinner party late Saturday night.
They mingled with a glittering crowd of fellow actors, media heavyweights and real-life power brokers, among them White House press secretary Jay Carney, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, former Rep. Jane Harman, Sen. Joe Manchin, Ambassador Susan Rice, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Sen. Mark Warner and HuffPost guest Gov. Chris Christie.
Topic A among the Hollywood crowd was President Barack Obama's masterful speech at the dinner.
"He landed 100 percent of his jokes," actor and funny man Matthew Perry marveled. "One hundred percent!"
It's not as if Conan O'Brien's speech wasn't good. "You killed tonight," Kevin Spacey could be overheard telling O'Brien. "I laughed very, very hard, and so did the president."
The trouble for Conan was that he had to follow a president who absolutely slayed, leading some party goers to wonder if it might make sense to switch the order at future dinners to make things easier on whatever poor soul has to compete with Obama.
But actor Gerard Butler said he thought it would be disrespectful to ask the president to follow a professional comedian. What if the pro brought the house down? Then it would be the president of the United States who had to worry about looking bad.
Fox News White House correspondent Ed Henry, who chaired the event this year, said his association has no say in the order anyway. "The White House controls that," he said. "Usually, the president goes first, though I think Clinton liked to finish, because he liked to have the last word."
The Vanity Fair-Bloomberg affair, co-hosted by VF editor Graydon Carter and New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg, is notoriously tough to get into -- so tough that Spacey's Frank Underwood joked about it in the "House of Cards" send-up that opened the dinner program. But those who do make the cut are generally eager to make new friends. The Hollywood people want to meet the D.C. people, and vice versa.
"Newt Gingrich told me his favorite movie is '300,'" Gerard Butler said, still incredulous. "At first, I was polite, like, 'Oh, thank you.' But then I said, 'Wait a minute. You're Newt Gingrich. That's amazing.'"
And O'Brien seized the chance to share his "Game of Thrones" love with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Natalie Dormer, who play Jaime Lannister and Margaery Tyrell, respectively. "I was so upset when that happened," O'Brien told Coster-Waldau, referring to a recent scene in which Jaime suffers a certain physical setback. "I'm telling my wife, 'That's his sword hand!'"
By 3 a.m., the party had thinned out. But a few hardy souls gathered around a baby grand piano, where "Glee" star Darren Criss was leading a singalong with a group of media types including Mother Jones co-editor-in-chief Clara Jeffery, Vanity Fair blogger Juli Weiner and CBS News executive assistant Jackie Alemany.
After burning through "Rehab" and "My Girl" with the group, Criss finished with a heartfelt solo rendition of "When You Wish Upon a Star."
This being 2013, several guests shot video of the impromptu recital. Another high-powered guest, whose phone had died, had a simple request.
"If you don't email that video to me tomorrow," she said, "I will hunt you down."
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