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White House correspondents’ dinner returns to comedic roots

/ 05:50 PM February 19, 2020
White House

Kenan Thompson at the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Image: AP/Invision/Chris Pizzello

Comedians are making their return to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner after last year’s hiatus.

Kenan Thompson of “Saturday Night Live” and Hasan Minhaj of Netflix’s “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj” will headline this year’s dinner, which takes place April 25.

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Presidents and first ladies have traditionally attended the dinner, which serves as a celebration of the First Amendment as well as a fundraiser for college scholarships. Reporting awards are given out as well.

But President Donald Trump has skipped the dinner throughout his presidency and instead has elected to hold campaign rallies. Just four days before last year’s dinner, the White House announced that administration officials would be joining Trump in boycotting the dinner.

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The White House declined to comment about whether the president would attend this year.

Last year’s dinner featured Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow after some dinner attendees and commentators complained that a sharply anti-Trump performance by comedian Michelle Wolf in 2018 was too pointed and unfairly targeted then-White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.

Thompson will serve as this year’s host. Minhaj will be the featured entertainer.

White House

Hasan Minhaj at the 11th Annual Stand Up for Heroes benefit at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, in New York. Image: AP/Invision/ Brent N. Clarke

“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, Chief White House correspondent for ABC News and president of the White House Correspondents’ Association.

Thompson is currently in his 17th season on “Saturday Night Live” where he has set a record for the most celebrity impressions performed on the show. In 2018, he received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics and a nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.

Minhaj won a Peabody award in 2019 for his humorous examination of issues of domestic and global import. He was the entertainer at the 2017 correspondents’ dinner when he was a senior correspondent on “The Daily Show”. RGA

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TAGS: Comedy, Donald Trump, presidents, United States, White House
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