The White House Correspondents’ Dinner will pivot back to comedy after a one-year hiatus, with Saturday Night Live star Kenan Thompson set to host and Patriot Act host Hasan Minhaj tapped to be the featured entertainer. The event will be held on April 25th.
The annual gathering of journalists, politicians, and Washington, D.C., insiders had, for years, featured sets from comedians who roasted the attendees to varying degrees of severity. The WHCA backed away from this model after 2018, however, following a controversial set from comedian Michelle Wolf, who was criticized specifically for several jokes she made about former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Instead of a comedian last year, the WHCA invited historian Ron Chernow to deliver a lecture on the history of journalism and the First Amendment.
Along with the return to comedy, the 2020 White House Correspondents’ Dinner will notably mark the first time since the Seventies that the event will include both a host and a featured entertainer (Bob Hope hosted the 1976 event, while Chevy Chase performed). For Thompson, this will be his first Correspondents’ Dinner; Minhaj appeared at the 2017 event, the first of Donald Trump’s presidency.
“Kenan and Hasan are two of the most engaged and engaging entertainers in America,” said WHCA president and ABC White House correspondent Jonathan Karl. “I’m thrilled they’ll help us celebrate the role of a free press in our democracy. We’re looking forward to a lively evening honoring the most important political journalism of the past year.”
While sitting presidents have typically attended and done some sort of bit at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, Trump has yet to embrace the tradition. Last year, he even issued an order to his entire administration that they boycott the event.