Obama takes final bow at star-studded Washington dinner

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Obama's Best White House Correspondents Dinner Jokes

With seven performances under his belt, U.S. President Barack Obama will try one last time to bring the house down at the annual White House correspondents' dinner on Saturday, a night of playful ribbing of both politicians and the news media.

The black-tie event, which Obama has previously joked is "a night when Washington celebrates itself," brings together journalists and media moguls, Hollywood stars and policy wonks and the powerbrokers from Capitol Hill.

For Obama, who is scheduled to speak around 10:20 p.m. ET (0220 GMT Sunday), it will be his final correspondents' dinner as a sitting president. Comedian Larry Wilmore, who hosts a show on the cable outlet Comedy Central, will take to the podium after the president's remarks.

Click through images of the 2015 White House correspondents dinner:

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Obama takes final bow at star-studded Washington dinner
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: President Barack Obama greets comedienne Cecily Strong of the Saturday Night Live show during the annual White House Correspondent's Association Gala at the Washington Hilton hotel April 25, 2015 in Washington, D.C. The dinner is an annual event attended by journalists, politicians and celebrities. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: The presidents translator, Luther (L), as portrayed by comedian Keegan-Michael Key, gestures as President Barack Obama speaks at the annual White House Correspondent's Association Gala at the Washington Hilton hotel April 25, 2015 in Washington, D.C. The dinner is an annual event attended by journalists, politicians and celebrities. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (R) speaks next comedian Keegan-Michael Key playing 'Luther, Obama's anger translator' at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner in Washington, DC on April 25, 2015. AFP PHOTO/YURI GRIPAS (Photo credit should read YURI GRIPAS/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: President Barack Obama attends the annual White House Correspondent's Association Gala at the Washington Hilton hotel April 25, 2015 in Washington, D.C. The dinner is an annual event attended by journalists, politicians and celebrities. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: First Lady Michelle Obama, President Barack Obama and comedienne Cecily Strong of the Saturday Night Live show chat during the annual White House Correspondent's Association Gala at the Washington Hilton hotel April 25, 2015 in Washington, D.C. The dinner is an annual event attended by journalists, politicians and celebrities. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
News personality Katie Couric, left, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, center, and model Chrissy Teigen mingle during the White House Correspondents' Association dinner at the Washington Hilton on Saturday, April 25, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: (L-R) A guest, Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough attend the Yahoo News/ABC News White House Correspondents' dinner reception pre-party at the Washington Hilton on Saturday, April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for Yahoo)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Fox News channel talent attend the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: (L-R) Madeleine Albright, Tim Daly, Bob Schieffer, and Tea Leoni attend the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's 'Hardball', attends the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (R) and First Lady Michelle Obama (2nd L) attend the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner in Washington, DC on April 25, 2015. AFP PHOTO/YURI GRIPAS (Photo credit should read YURI GRIPAS/AFP/Getty Images)
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White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters on Friday not to rule out surprises from Obama, who has polished his comedic timing over seven prior dinner appearances.

"I know that the president will certainly poke a little fun at himself," Earnest said, adding that he thought some "good-natured ribbing of his friends will occur as well."

In previous years, Obama has taken on Washington gridlock, political rivals and presidential hopefuls with usually light-hearted, but sometimes pointed, jokes.

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, who won't be at the dinner, could surface in Obama's monolog.

Back in 2011, when Trump was weighing a 2012 presidential run and was in the ballroom, Obama skewered him for questioning whether the president was born in the United States. He then speculated about the change the real estate mogul would bring to the White House, including bikini-clad women in the front fountain and gold columns by the entryway.

Wilmore, who has been working on his jokes with a small team for the last month, said he plans to talk about the presidential election and Obama's legacy. "I'll definitely bring up race," Wilmore, who is African-American, told cable network C-SPAN. "That's going to be an issue in a lot of different ways."

The dinner, a long-standing tradition, has morphed from a relatively low-key gathering of journalists and their sources into a glamorous red-carpet affair.

Invitees this year include singer Aretha Franklin, actor Morgan Freeman and Super Bowl MVP Von Miller of the Denver Broncos. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is expected to attend, but his rival Hillary Clinton is not.

The dinner has drawn criticism from some who feel that partying with sources is not conducive to hard-hitting journalism.

C-SPAN and a number of other cable outlets plan live coverage. (Reporting by Megan Cassella; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Mary Milliken)

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