Hasan Minhaj is returning to the White House Correspondents' Association dinner this year. The Indian American comedian is the featured entertainer, along with Kenan Thompson of "Saturday Night Live,” who will host the annual dinner to be held in Washington, D.C., on April 25.
Minhaj, the Peabody award-winning host of Netflix’s “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj,” made headlines in 2017, when he first performed at the dinner in 2017. He was then a senior correspondent on “The Daily Show.”
“Kenan and Hasan are two of the most engaged and engaging entertainers in America,” Jonathan Karl, ABC News’ chief White House correspondent and president of the WHCA, said in a statement. “I’m thrilled they’ll help us celebrate the role of a free press in our democracy,” he said. “We’re looking forward to a lively evening honoring the most important political journalism of the past year.”
Minhaj has hosted his Netflix show since 2018, drawing critics’ raves, including a Peabody award in 2019, for his humorous and informed examination of issues of domestic and global import, the WHCA said in a press release.
Minhaj is hosting Netflix show since 2018, drawing critics’ raves, including a Peabody award in 2019, for his humorous and informed examination of issues of domestic and global import.
Last year, the WHCA broke from the tradition and went without a comedian, and chose the historian Ron Chernow. News reports said then that Chernow delivered a humorous and insightful speech that put the Trump presidency in context.
WHCA’s move was because of the much-talked-about performance by comedienne Michelle Wolf spurred debate about the dinner format. CNN reported that Trump allies claimed that the jokes proved the press corps' hatred of Trump. The president tweeted that the dinner was "embarrassing" and the event was "dead." However, many writers, activists and comedians defended Wolf for roasting both the administration and the news media, the CNN report said.
At his 2017 performance Minhaj touched upon hard-hitting issues with his signature punch lines. On being a minority in America, Minhaj said: That's why you gotta be on your 'A' game," Minhaj told the press. "You gotta be twice as good. You can't make any mistakes, because when one of you messes up he blames your entire group. ... And now you know what it feels like to be a minority."
Although President Trump didn’t attend the dinner, Minhaj went all out to roast him. On the president’s frequent golfing outings, Minhaj said, "Every time Trump goes golfing, the headline should read, 'Trump golfing. Apocalypse delayed. Take the W.' " and on Trump’s administration, he said: "The news coming out of the White House is so stressful, I've been watching 'House of Cards' just to relax."
This year, the WHCA has partnered with Bob Bain Productions, which has produced events such as the Critics’ Choice Awards, the Teen Choice Awards, the Creative Arts Emmys, the Miss America pageant and Trevor Noah’s stand-up specials.
The association will be presenting two new awards at the 2020 dinner: The Katharine Graham Award for Courage and Accountability and the Award for Excellence in Presidential News Coverage by Visual Journalists. These are in addition to the longstanding Aldo Beckman Award for Overall Excellence in White House Coverage and Merriman Smith Award for Excellence in Presidential News Coverage Under Deadline Pressure.