WASHINGTON, D.C. The 88th annual White House Correspondents Association Dinner was held Saturday at the Hilton, and it was a mix of politicians, celebrities and press. My question while I was watching was simple: What am I doing here?
While everyone else was dressed to the nines in their best formal gowns, tuxedos and suits, I was there in all black, a sort of Johnny Cash-meets-Mr. Plumber look. I stood in a long line of red carpet press people, all of us hoping to catch a few seconds with the famous people who were showing up to rub elbows with the president, who, in Washington, D.C., is normally the main attraction. However, on Saturday, everybody wanted to see Ozzy Osbourne.
That was the twist, and that was what I was doing there. Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, the heads of TV's new favorite family, had been invited to the White House Correspondents Dinner and everybody there wanted to know them. I was guessing that most of these folks weren't Black Sabbath or Ozzy fans but had been swept up in the frenzy that is "The Osbournes" show.
My first interview was with Drew Carey. He was funny, he gave me his favorite curse word and moved on. I got to wear the bronze medal won by a speed skater in the 2002 Olympics and I got Dr. Ruth Westheimer to flash up the metal horns and say, "Metal rules!" As the interviews went on and the rich, powerful and famous began heading toward the dining area, a commotion started at the end of the press line. Cameras were shoved around, reporters were yelling and flashbulbs were flashing. That's when I saw Ozzy being whisked down the press line at top speed past everybody. He stopped long enough to say hello and then he was swept into the dining area. Ozzy's brief appearance left a gaping hole in the evening, because the night was as much about Ozzy as it was about the president. Never one to let the crowd down, America's favorite mom, Sharon Osbourne, moved slowly through the crowd, talking to everybody, giving commentary and trying to keep the press happy. I spoke to Sharon briefly, asking her if she ever thought she'd be at a White House press event.
"Never," Sharon said. "But everybody has been just wonderful."
Then, after kissing me a second time (I can feel your jealousy), she disappeared into the background and suddenly it was all over, at least for us outside.
Inside, people were wondering about Ozzy and Bush: Would the president ignore him? Ozzy is a man who's been a thorn in the side of conservatives from day one. During his music career Ozzy's covered everything from demons to drugs, has been dragged through the press by people who blamed him for the suicide of their children and has been kicked out of Bush's home state of Texas for relieving himself on the Alamo. It was a miracle Ozzy was there would the president acknowledge him?
President Bush did rise to the occasion, talking straight to Ozzy from the podium and joking with him about his musical past.
"The thing about Ozzy," the president said, "is he's made a lot of big hit recordings 'Party With Animals,' 'Sabbath Bloody Sabbath,' 'Face in Hell,' 'Black Skies' and 'Bloodbath in Paradise.' " He then finished things off by saying, "Ozzy ... mom loves your stuff."
Ozzy stood there the whole time with his hands above his head in triumph. The Prince of Darkness had finally arrived.
For a full-length feature on the Osbournes, check out "The Osbournes: Dysfunctional Family Values."