By Laura Bradley. Photos: Courtesy of Comedy Central.
At long last, the White House Correspondents Association has found a host for its annual dinner, which will be held April 29. The task has been infamously challenging, as performers have balked at the idea of attending, and Donald Trump himself has also decided to skip the gala. Still, the show will go on, as promised by the Association back in February. And now, the night has finally found its host: The Daily Show’s Hasan Minhaj, who might be the most fitting possible choice to host such an event.
On Tuesday, W.H.C.A. president Jeff Mason announced that Minhaj would M.C., 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.”
Minhaj has been one of comedy’s most vital voices against Trump in recent months, offering a perspective that is still exceedingly rare in show business: that of a Muslim man. As Trump’s administration continues its pursuit of a travel ban against several majority-Muslim countries, Minhaj’s perspective is not only sharp and candid—it’s one that needs to be heard more than ever. Plus, the guy is also really funny.
At only 31, the Daily Show senior correspondent is also much younger than previous hosts—if not one of the youngest in the event’s decades-long history. As Mason told The Hill, “I was not looking for somebody who was going to roast the president in absentia. That’s not fair and that’s not the message we want to get across.” Mason said he knows 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.”
Trump’s contentious relationship with the press hardly needs emphasizing; Vanity Fair is just one of several publications that have decided to skip their annual parties tied to the ceremony this year, as the Trump administration continues to bash what it calls “fake news.” Minhaj will certainly have his work cut out for him when it comes to striking just the right balance, but no matter what, April 29 will be a historic—if unprecedented and bizarre—evening.
This story originally appeared on Vanity Fair.
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