How Not to Talk to Celebrities at #NerdProm

There are ways of not acting like an idiot during White House Correspondents' weekend.

National Journal

The glow at the Washington Hilton is expected to be a bit dimmer this year. That's because, according to several reports, fewer stars are attending the White House Correspondents' Dinner this time around, complaining they've been "pawed at" too much by politicos acting like a bunch of kids.

"A lot of the people who have gone say they'll never do it again," an anonymous source told The Hollywood Reporter. "The room is so crowded. It's uncontrolled. There's no limit to the number of people trying to get photos and autographs — and there's no way to hide from it. It's like the stars are animals in a cage. People go crazy when they see them. They act like a bunch of kids at the Kids' Choice Awards."

That, disturbingly enough, is an account that resonates. Few places combine entitlement and power-groping like Washington, and given the current vogue for selfies, this year will likely be particularly terrible for stars. What follows is a primer on how to act like a normal human around famous people this weekend.

1. Don't sneak photos of them, particularly when they're looking right at you. It's creepy. As Peter Dinklage told the world in a recent Reddit AMA, "The one thing that sort of gets to you are the cameras/cell phones. People try to be sneaky and try to get your picture without coming up to you or asking, and that's what kind of gets to me." He'd rather people just ask. And no, you are not fooling anyone pretending to text while you hold your phone at eye level.

2. No one reads bylines, especially not celebrities. Don't expect anyone to be familiar with your work. Not even that one time you got a link in Playbook.

3. Don't tell them who they are, though we understand it's tempting to verbalize exactly what you're thinking at that moment. Like, "Oh my god, you're Sandra Bullock!" Yes. It's true. She knows.

4. Do talk about projects they've done that don't get as much attention as their blockbuster work, or ask them about about their political pet projects. Ben Affleck, for instance, would be only too happy to tell you about atrocities in the Congo. He will be less pleased if you unexpectedly bare your breasts to him as he's walking into the restroom, as someone did (we won't name names) the last time he attended.

5. If a celebrity does agree to talk to you or take a photo, be gracious and don't take up too much of their time. They're giving you a gift, not the other way around. Unless you are, say, Elizabeth Warren, in which case, thanks for reading!

6. If you must selfie, reconsider. If you still must selfie, you cannot be helped.

7. Do not talk to them about your book or television show or movie ideas. Yes, Scandal and House of Cards are incredibly popular. No, you are not the next Beau Willimon.

8. If you ask for an autograph (first, why?), pretend you're asking for a small child. In a sense it will be true.

Brian Resnick, Marina Koren, and Emma Roller contributed to this article