WASHINGTON - The White House Correspondents Association said Tuesday it will bring comedy back to this year's annual dinner, a once light-hearted staple of the Washington calendar that has become deeply politicized under U.S. President Donald Trump.
The WHCA said Saturday Night Live veteran Kenan Thompson will host the April 25 dinner, while Hasan Minhaj, the Peabody award-winning host of Netflix's "Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj," will be the entertainer.
"Kenan and Hasan are two of the most engaged and engaging entertainers in America. I'm thrilled they'll help us celebrate the role of a free press in our democracy," said Jonathan Karl, ABC News correspondent and president of the WHCA. "We're looking forward to a lively evening honoring the most important political journalism of the past year."
In 2019, the swanky dinner held in a hotel near the White House featured a talk by historian Ron Chernow, suspending the tradition of having comedians let rip at the media and politicians.
This followed an outcry from the White House over barbed jokes made the previous year by comedian Michelle Wolf. The disruption also reflected the often difficult relations between Trump and the journalists covering his administration, as well as accusations that the WHCA bash was self-indulgent at a time of economic crisis in the news media.
Most years, presidents have attended the dinner, but Trump, who regularly insults journalists and deems the media the "enemy," has skipped each one during his administration.