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West Wing’s Allison Janney Returns to White House as CJ Cregg in Official Press Briefing: Watch Here

Somebody pinch Us! Allison Janney, who played former White House Press Secretary C.J. Cregg on beloved ’90s-’00s TV drama The West Wing, returned to her old stomping grounds on Friday, April 29, and briefed actual members of the press — in character — in a new Facebook Live video.

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The press briefing started off like any typical White House press conference. Then, in walked Janney, who made her way directly to the podium. “Ohhh!” the reporters cooed in response as they realized what was happening.

“Hi, everyone. Good afternoon,” Janney, 56, said in Cregg’s trademark right-to-business tone. “I was going to tell you all to be seated, but I see you are already seated. So, we can begin.”

Allison Janney at the White House
Allison Janney speaks as she shows up to surprise members of the press corps at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House April 29, 2016, in Washington, DC.

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“Josh is out today,” Janney said of official White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, who was noticeably missing in action. “He has … Carol? I believe it’s a root canal?” she noted. “He has a root canal, but let’s be honest: I’m better at this than he is anyway. Just between us.” (Carol, played by Melissa Fitzgerald, was Cregg’s loyal assistant on the show.)

“First, I have two announcements,” Janney continued. “The president is still working on his jokes for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner … OK and second, it is Friday, which means, at half past five, I’ll be performing the Jackal in my office.”

Allison Janney on 'The West Wing.'
Allison Janney as Claudia Jean ‘C.J.’ Cregg in 2004 on ‘The West Wing.’

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The Jackal, Cregg’s outstanding lip sync performance (of Ronny Jordan’s “The Jackal”) from season 1 of the show, was one of the most memorable moments ever on the show. Also starring Martin Sheen (as President Josiah Bartlet), Bradley Whitford, Rob Lowe, Josh Malina, Stockard Channing and many others, Aaron Sorkin‘s beloved political series aired from 1999 to 2006, and won 26 Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Drama Series four years in a row from 2000 to 2003.

The actual reason Janney-as-Cregg was in the White House was for her current TV series, Mom. CBS announced last week that Janney was to be joined by her sitcom costars, Mom cocreator Chuck Lorre, and recurring star Emily Osment at the White House’s “Champions of Change” event on Friday.

Watch Cregg’s brief moment back at the podium above! 

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