The Daily Show Senior Correspondent Hasan Minhaj has been selected as the featured entertainer at the 2017 White House Correspondents' Dinner later this month, White House Correspondents Association President Jeff Mason announced Tuesday.
"I am thrilled that Hasan will serve as our featured entertainer," Mason 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."
Minhaj will keep alive the tradition of a comedian roasting the president and the White House press corps at the annual dinner feting the journalists who cover White House politics. However, this year's event will be on a lesser scale than usual. The president usually attends the event, but President Trump will be sitting this one out, which dims the anticipation a bit and means there will be no moment like in 2006 when Stephen Colbert told George W. Bush "reality has a well-known liberal bias."
And, no disrespect to the very funny Minhaj, but he's a smaller name than the event usually books (last year was Larry Wilmore). Politico reports that people including Late Late Show host James Corden turned the job down.
"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!" said Minhaj. "Now more than ever, it is vital that we honor the First Amendment and the freedom of the press."
Minhaj does have experience in this kind of room — he hosted last year's Radio and Television Correspondents Associate Dinner and took the members of Congress in attendance to task over gun control.
The White House Correspondents' Dinner usually occurs in February, but has been delayed amidst the tumult of the new administration of a president who has dubbed the press the "opposition party."