Comedian Hasan Minhaj will be this year’s entertainer for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner later this month, the association’s president announced on Tuesday.
Minhaj is a stand up comedian and senior correspondent on "The Daily Show," where he has performed caustic bits on President Donald Trump. Minhaj has Washington experience already, having performed as host of last year’s Radio and Television Correspondents’ Association Dinner.
"I am thrilled that Hasan will serve as our featured entertainer at this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner,” said Jeff Mason, WHCA president and White House Correspondent for Reuters. “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.”
This is the latest in recent history that the entertainment has been announced, which normally comes by late February. The job is always seen as a tough and politically sensitive gig, but this year seems to have been a particularly tough one to book as people like CBS host James Corden was approached to perform but declined.
And of course, the president himself and the entire White House staff are skipping the event entirely, something Donald Trump announced in February before he was even technically invited. Normally the president, first lady and press secretary sit on the front dais and the president makes a speech, helps present the awards along with the first lady and is toasted by the room. Last month the White House announced that neither the Vice President or any other White House staff will be attending the event in "solidarity" with the president. "Watergate" journalists Bob Woodwad and Carl Bernstein will instead speak and present the awards.
"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! Now more than ever, it is vital that we honor the First Amendment and the freedom of the press,” Minhaj said in a statement.