The Mirror

Spelling Bee At National Press Club: Cheaters Welcome

Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger
Font Size:

Journalists can be notoriously poor spellers.

So what the hell are they are doing competing against lawmakers in a Spelling Bee?

Perhaps they’re out of their minds. But whatever the case, the Bee will transpire Wednesday night at the National Press Club at 7 p.m. Comedian and writer Tim Young will be the opening act.

So who better to answer a few of my annoying questions?

Participants include Sen. [crscore]Tim Kaine[/crscore] (D-Va.), who weirdly previously (according to materials provided to The Mirror) took the title of “The Best Speller in the United States” in 2013’s centennial rematch is returning to defend his title.

His team includes Rep. [crscore]Brendan Boyle[/crscore] (D-Pa.), Rep. [crscore]Donald Beyer[/crscore] (D-Va.) Rep. [crscore]Ted Lieu[/crscore] (D-Calif.) Rep. [crscore]Brad Ashford[/crscore] (D-Neb.) and the lone Republican on the team: Sen. [crscore]Jeff Flake[/crscore] (R-Ariz), who knows how to survive rough terrain. But who knows if he’s a good speller?

The journalists include former Press Club president Angela Greiling Keane of Bloomberg News, David Kerley of ABC News, Rebecca Sinderbrand of The Washington Post, Rod Kukro of E&E News, Yochi Dreazen of Foreign Policy and Amy Ellis Nutt, who also works for WaPo.

Discovery Communications is sponsoring the Bee. White Ford Bronco will perform at the after party.

Now let’s move on to those questions for Young.

Journalists can be notorious poor spellers. Isn’t this going to be a disaster?

YOUNG: I hope so! Journalists are incredibly smart people so it’s good to have an annual event to knock them down a peg. But I think we can all agree that it’s tough to spell when you don’t have that squiggly red line to save you.

Who do you think will win?

YOUNG: I’ve got $50 riding on Amy Ellis Nutt to take the whole thing. She covers health and science for the Washington Post so she knows words that normal human beings have never heard of before. She also just looks like she wrote the dictionary… or you know that friend that when they interject into a argument, you just say “Well that’s settled then,” and know that your attempts to argue will be feeble in comparison to whatever she has to say.

Who do you think will definitely lose?

YOUNG: Any member of the congressional team who has worked hard to come up with a terrible acronym for legislation. At this point, they’ve probably forgotten how vowels work.

What if someone cheats?

YOUNG: Good! Using your cell phone in a spelling bee is like when they used steroids during the home run race a few years ago. Sure, there will be an asterisk next to the winner’s name in the history books, but it’ll be really fun to watch.

How do you prepare for this?

I walk around town interjecting in random people’s conversations by yelling “spell it” at the conclusion of their sentences. It’s been an uphill battle. As it turns out, a lot of people don’t like spelling the last word of every one of their sentences.

How hard will the words be and who chooses them?

YOUNG: I believe Scripps is going to help choose the words the same way they do for the National Spelling Bee. I would imagine they’ll toss a few easy ones in at the beginning… and around hour 3, they’ll start tossing out words that fall into the difficulty level known as, “we get it you’re smart, but let’s get out of here already there’s an afterparty to get to.”

Tickets are $10 for members and $15 for non-members.

Purchase your tickets here.