SAVE THE DATE – 86th annual Gridiron show!

Gridiron benefits annual summer journalism program at the state Capitol.

Gridiron benefits annual summer journalism program at the state Capitol.

The national news and political muckety–mucks have their annual comedy night, the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, in Washington, D.C.

But did you know that the same type of comedy extravaganza – minus the red carpet and Hollywood star power – goes on in Harrisburg each year?

It’s true.

It’s called the Gridiron, and the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents’ Association has sponsored it for 86 years. The show features live and recorded skits in which politicians rip reporters and reporters rip back. This year’s show will be Sept. 27 at the State Museum of Pennsylvania.

Only one rule exists for performers and audience members: No public recording. It is an off-the-record night.

That rule is all about fairness. Politicians deserve a chance to laugh and be laughed at without fear of it coming back to bite them.

It’s a pretty funny evening. State Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, does a stand-up routine that is viciously good.

If the public saw Tom Corbett’s skits, he wouldn’t be “former governor” today. He and his administration were that funny.

Gov. Tom Wolf is no comedy slouch, either.

So get your tickets.

Proceeds go toward educating a new generation of journalists through the association’s summer internship program. It’s a paid internship program in which college students or recent graduates work alongside reporters covering state government during the height of budget season and bill passing.

We get student applications from across the country but tend to be partial to homegrown talent. This summer, we took a Temple University student, Colt Shaw, and a recent Penn State graduate, Carley Mossbrook, who got a job with one of our member groups, Capitolwire. So your ticket purchase pays for the experience that can turn into a career.

Doors open at 5 p.m. for cocktails and food, with the show beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Single tickets are $80 each or $75 each with a bulk purchase of 10 or more. Price includes one free beer, wine or soda and food.

To purchase tickets, come to the Capitol newsroom or go to PLCA’s website: