The creator and stars of Scandal kicked off White House Correspondents’ Dinner Weekend enjoying a private tour of the real life White House followed by a panel discussion hosted by the Smithsonian Associates.
Eager to see their real-world, less scandalous, counterparts, they all agreed that they are mostly looking forward to Obama going all out in his last WHCD dinner remarks. “I just want to see him let it all hang out,” said Katie Lowes. “It’s his last term, he can really go to town and say things that he never could before. And he’s so funny anyway. I can’t wait to hear him at the dinner.”
For Lowes, this is her second White House Correspondents’ Dinner, or Nerd Prom, as its affectionately called. “The first one was incredible. The president was hilarious and then the Vanity Fair party at the Italian Ambassador’s house was amazing. I remember hanging out with Jake Tapper at 3 a.m. and scarfing down lobster rolls. I love D.C. and honestly if I weren’t in L.A. I would live here. It’s a fascinating town.”
The show’s star, Kerry Washington, who served as a surrogate for Obama in ’08 and ’12 and is now doing that for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, said it’s not the parties that she looks back on but her time spent working for the White House.
“I really cherish my years on the campaign and working for the President. That’s what I’ll always remember. But I am so excited about Saturday, I mean it will be bittersweet, but we are all so excited to see what he says. He is a brilliant and hilarious man and we always get to see him be brilliant but we don’t always get to see him be so funny.”
As for what she thinks Obamas should do once his second term is up in January, says Washington, “Well, they’re friends, so I sort of know what they have up their sleeve for the future, but I’ll just enjoy the weekend for now.”
A bit more star struck than Washington was Bellamy Young, who couldn’t believe that when she met the first lady at her last WHCD, she was confronted with, “‘OMG, I love your show, but why did you kill your son?’ Finding out that the first lady and the president watched the show was amazing.”
PEOPLE was Live with the Cast of Scandal in D.C. Ahead of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner
Tony Goldwyn echoed that sentiment: “It’s incredible meeting people here who are just mad fans of Scandal, but who actually have those jobs in real life. Last time I was here and I met President Obama, he actually addressed me as Mr. President which was just surreal.”
This year’s show has been eerily echoing the real election, but show creator Shonda Rhimes insists this year’s election season has not inspired anything on the show.
“I’ve been much more inspired by Hamilton and the characters in it than by this year’s election. In fact there have been times when scripts were written and scenes were shot, and then something that we had written as outrageous would happen in real life. And its just terrifying that life is imitating art in this way.”
As for the end of Obama’s term approaching, Rhimes says, “He’s amazing. I think we’re going to look back on him as one of the most amazing presidents we’ve had.”
Rhimes wouldn’t share any spoilers or cliffhangers but Guillermo Diaz left us with this. “I can tell you that Scandal is mirroring in the real world in more ways than we ever could have imagined. Your jaw will drop when you see what’s coming.”