Comedian Hasan Minhaj of The Daily Show has been announced as the entertainer for this year’s White House Correspondents Dinner. This year’s affair will be a quieter affair and Minhaj is not as well-known a name with the past few years going to late night hosts. Minhaj is a senior correspondent on Comedy Central’s satirical news program.
“I am thrilled that Hasan will serve as our featured entertainer at this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner,” Jeff Mason, the president of the White House Correspondents Association, said in a statement.
“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.”
President Donald Trump has announced that he will not be attending this year’s dinner, a break from tradition. White House staff will also not be attending, standing with the President. The President, First Lady, and Press Secretary typically sit on the dais and the first couple typically present the awards. Some of the usual parties will also not be taking place and this year’s affair is shaping up to have a renewed focus on journalism after several years of growing Hollywood influence.
“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.
Mason said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe that he wanted someone who would rib the press and the President, as usual, but he “was not looking for someone who would roast the president in absentia.”