On Saturday, April 29, Samantha Bee hosted Not the White House Correspondents Dinner, a special episode of Full Frontal, her nightly show on TBS. The taping took place at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington D.C. on the same day as the White House Correspondents Dinner, which is traditionally attended by the president, but Donald Trump was not in D.C. for the event.
Here’s everything we saw from behind the scenes Bee’s special:
1. The red carpet for the event was actually purple.
2. Droves of people participating in the Climate March walked by DAR Constitution Hall.
3. Inside the building, there were plenty of open bars. There were a lot of people, and only a few bartenders, so before people took their seats, they asked for a couple drinks at a time, which explains why you could hear glasses breaking in the audience throughout the entire taping.
4. There were also fun props inside the building before you entered the taping area; attendees could take photos in front of a digital screen that showed a variety of Trump tweets, as well as a photo station that was set up to look like a live news station (on TBS, of course).
5. So many different songs played throughout the night, both before Bee took the stage and during commercial breaks, including “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars, “American Boy” by Estelle feat. Kanye West, “Worth It” by Fifth Harmony, “Problem” by Ariana Grande feat. Iggy Azalea, “Suit and Tie” by Justin Timberlake and Jay Z, and “Work It” by Missy Elliot.
6. There were a number of tables on the lower level of Constitution Hall specifically reserved for guests of honor. Waiters brought them dinner and drinks throughout the taping, and their tables were decorated with candle votives, flowers, and plenty of champagne bottles. Not all of the tables were full, especially the ones toward the back of the room.
7. Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and her husband, executive producer Dan Palladino, were present at the taping, and of course, Sherman-Palladino was wearing one of her iconic black hats.
8. Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson was at one of the tables, wearing his famous blue vest. He was socializing with people at lots of different tables, and during one commercial break, he sat and chatted with Franchesca Ramsey, former writer for The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore who’s also working on her own Comedy Central pilot.
9. The staff at the event all work black T-shirts that said “Free press” in a white font. Toward the end of the taping, all of the guests sitting at tables received their own T-shirts that came in silver Soul Cycle swag bags. Members of the crew even threw some of the T-shirts into the stands for everyone else.
10. Some of the best seats in the house went to the Search Party cast and Matt Walsh from Veep.
11. When Bee first walked out on stage, she received a standing ovation and huge round of applause that echoed throughout Constitution Hall for a solid minute. Everyone clapped and cheered so loudly that sometimes, audience members couldn’t even hear everything Bee said.
12. Ramsey even excitedly jumped up and down and waved at Bee.
13. There was also a toast at the beginning of the show, at Bee’s request.
14. She spoke to the audience during the first filming break and said, “I have never stood in front of a crowd this big.” She also introduced her writers and others members of the Full Frontal With Samantha Bee staff.
15. At one point in the night, Bee asked, “Is everybody drunk?”
16. In between segments, a large projector on stage showed a series of “great moments for the press and the presidency.” One read: “The first presidential press conference was an accident. A week after his inauguration, Woodrow Wilson’s private secretary, Joseph Tumulty, asked reporters to come to the White House at 12:45 p.m. on March 15, 1913 because the president would like to ‘look them in the face and chat with them for a few minutes.’”
17. Bee didn’t get any applause when she made a joke about Birth of a Nation; there were even a few soft “ooo’s.”
18. The only time she had to start over during filming was when she said, “Did you know Donald Trump was elected in large part because of left of center political satirists, especially certain female ones who are very mean and shrill to conversatives?”
19. When she thanked everyone involved in making Not the White House Correspondents Dinner happen, Bee also thanked TBS, saying, “Thanks TBS for letting me say whatever the fuck I want to say, that’s very rare.”
20. Will Ferrell received a standing ovation when he entered the stage to parody George W. Bush. He got a standing ovation when he walked off stage, too.
21. Ferrell received one of the loudest receptions of the night when he said, “For a long time I was considered the worst president of all time. That has changed and it only took 100 days.” Overall, the crowd laughed and cheered for Ferrell, but his joke about hot chocolate fell flat.
22. There was a solemn, quiet hush that came over the crowd in Bee’s last video of the night that showed Hillary Clinton inaugurated as president.
23. To conclude the taping, after the cameras stopped rolling, Bee said, “I don’t think I’ve ever had more fun than this.”