Comedian and Daily Show regular Hasan Minhaj is set to host the much-contested White House Correspondents’ Dinner this year.
WHCA president and Reuters White House correspondent Jeff Mason said in a statement that this year’s dinner would be largely focused on freedom of the press, with Minhaj at the helm. “I am thrilled that Hasan will serve as our featured entertainer at this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner,” said Mason. “Hasan’s smarts, big heart and passion for press freedom make him the perfect fit for our event, which will be focused on the First Amendment and the importance of a robust and independent media.”
Typically, the annual dinner sometimes referred to as “Nerd Prom” is star-studded event with celebrities, press correspondents and White House staff. It’s usually part presidential roast, part self-high five. Last year’s dinner was particularly successful, with Larry Wilmore (another previous Daily Show regular) as host. This year, however, the dinner has been completely upended by Trump’s adversarial relationship with the media. Several news organizations pulled out, and celebrities called for a boycott. Samantha Bee, the current host of Full Frontal, will host an alternative event called “Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner,” with proceeds donated to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Faced with the prospect of a half-empty and hostile room, Trump and all his White House cronies will not be attending the dinner this year.
“It is a tremendous honor to be a part of such a historic event even though the president has chosen not to attend this year. SAD!” Minhaj said in a statement. “Now more than ever, it is vital that we honor the First Amendment and the freedom of the press.” Amen.
The dinner will take place at the Hilton in Washington, D.C., on April 29. At this point, perhaps Minhaj and Bee should just team up for one big First Amendment celebration. Trump will probably just be golfing at Mar-A-Lago, so might as well party it up with some swanky Hilton caviar and enjoy our First Amendment rights while we can.
Get an idea of how the Minhaj-hosted White House Correspondents’ Dinner may play out by watching his set at the 2016 Radio and Television Correspondents’ Dinner below.