By Judy Kurtz

The White House Correspondents’ Association dinner is just days away, so, while ITK gets our party shoes on, we figured we’d check in with some of the shindig’s veterans.

As a former Capitol Hill reporter, Patrick Gavin made a living covering the glitz, glamour, and ins and outs of the correspondents’ dinner each year. But Gavin decided to quit his gig at Politico last year to create a doc, “Nerd Prom: Inside Washington’s Wildest Week,” detailing the behind-the-scenes hoopla surrounding the annual soiree. The film is now available at

We wanted to get this reformed party pro’s take on the event coming up Saturday, so we asked him these questions.

Number of correspondents’ parties attended: Probably north of 50?

Favorite/least favorite headliner: Best: Stephen Colbert. Worst: Rich Little.

What’s the best thing about correspondents’ dinner weekend? The Friday luncheon at the Watergate Hotel thrown by the White House Correspondents’ Association. It’s the only event all week that actually discusses the very real and important issues faced by White House correspondents.

What’s the worst thing about correspondents’ dinner weekend? I don’t like that it’s Washington’s biggest event each year. If it were, say, the seventh, I’d be OK with that, if the first six more closely adhered to what this city is supposed to be about: serving others. It’s hard to go through this week, however, and not think that it’s mostly about serving ourselves.

Most memorable moment: Although I have no place being there, I always like standing on the red carpet and counting how many seconds it takes to get yelled at by photographers because I’m ruining their shot of another celebrity. I’ve never lasted longer than three seconds. It’s like this weekend’s version of bull riding.

Most embarrassing moment: I get embarrassed for all of us whenever the crowd talks over the presentation of the scholarship winners.

My motto for correspondents’ weekend is: How about a new one? “We can do better.”

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