The White House Correspondents’ Dinner, which will take place without the involvement of the president for the first time in 36 years, has named comedian Hasan Minhaj as host and headline entertainer, Time magazine reports.
Minhaj is a correspondent for Comedy Central’s “Daily Show.” The dinner will be held April 29 at the Hilton in Washington, D.C.
White House Correspondents’ Association President and Reuters White House correspondent Jeff Mason announced the selection of Minhaj today in a statement, saying: “I am thrilled that Hasan will serve as our featured entertainer at this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner. 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.”
Donald Trump, who has had an adversarial relationship with the press, announced in February that he will not attend, becoming the first president since Ronald Reagan to skip the event. Reagan missed the dinner in 1981 when he was recovering from an assassination attempt.
The White House staff has also opted out of this year’s dinner.
A number of news organizations and celebrities are reportedly boycotting this year’s dinner as a protest against Trump’s refusal to participate. Newsweek reports that the WHCA’s first choice to host was James Corden, who turned down the offer.
In a statement, Minhaj said: “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.”
As we reported previously, former “Daily Show” correspondent Samantha Bee, who hosts TBS’s “Full Frontal,” announced in January that she will host an alternative event on the same day as the dinner, dubbed “Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner,” with proceeds going to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Here’s a clip of Minhaj in action last year at the Radio and Television Correspondents’ Dinner, posted by C-SPAN …