It’s been announced that Hasan Minhaj of “The Daily Show” will be the headliner for the first White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) dinner since President Trump took office.
However, Trump will not be attending the April 29 event.
“It’s a different dinner,” said WHCA president Jeff Mason on Tuesday, noting that even though the president will not be there, “[w]e will still be celebrating the First Amendment and the importance of a free press, and Hasan brings all of that.“
A first-generation Indian American, Minhaj, 31, “brings comedy chops, but he also brings heart,” said Mason.
Minhaj has been a senior correspondent on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” a faux news program, since 2014.
According to Mason, it’s expected that Minhaj will “make some jokes, no doubt, about the press and probably about the president, but he’s also going to bring the message that we hope to get across that night: that the First Amendment is critical and the work of the White House press corps and journalists around the world is very important.”
The annual White House Correspondents’ dinner is a typically star-studded event which raises money for journalism scholarships and is an event the president traditionally attends.
“I was not looking for somebody who was going to roast the president in absentia,” said Mason. “That’s not fair and that’s not the message we want to get across.”
Previous WHCA dinner performers have included late-night talk show hosts Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, and “Saturday Night Live’s” Cecily Strong. Last year’s event featured former “Nightly Show” host Larry Wilmore.
Mason said he chose Minhaj not just for his comedic chops, but because he could also “speak to the message” and “strike the right balance.”
According to a report in The Hill, this year, there are several media organizations which have decided to boycott the event, including Bloomberg, Vanity Fair, People, The New Yorker, and Vanity Fair. Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter said earlier this year that the reason his magazine canceled its appearance was “Trump” and “the fish.”
H/T: The Hill
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