Hasan Minhaj to Host 2017 White House Correspondents' Dinner

Hasan Minhaj attends The Night Of Too Many Start Live Telethon in 2015 in New York City.  (Photo: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for Comedy Central)

Hasan Minhaj, a senior correspondent at The Daily Show who started his comedy career in the Bay Area, will host this year's White House Correspondents' Dinner.

In an announcement from the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) Tuesday, Minhaj said he was honored to speak at the event on Saturday, Apr. 29, despite President Donald Trump's decision not to attend.

"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," Minhaj said. "Now more than ever, it is vital that we honor the First Amendment and the freedom of the press."

The last time a sitting president skipped the dinner was 36 years ago, when Ronald Reagan couldn't attend after being shot during an assassination attempt. Instead, he called into the event from Camp David and joked about the shooting, saying, "If I could give you just one little bit of advice: when somebody tells you to get in a car quick, do it."

Hasan Minhaj attends The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Stand-Up in the Park in 2016.
Hasan Minhaj attends The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Stand-Up in the Park in 2016. (Photo: Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central)

This year's dinner has struggled to find a host. The host is traditionally announced months before the event, and The Hollywood Reporter (THR) reported back in February that a few candidates including the Late Late Show's James Corden had turned down the job. In the same piece, THR also found that many celebrities and publications who have attended in recent years would be passing this time around, and that former Daily Show correspondent Samantha Bee would be hosting an event called "Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner" on the same night.


Trump's staffers have also announced that they would be skipping the event "in solidarity" with the president.

Minhaj, 31, was born and raised in Davis, California, and began performing stand-up comedy in Sacramento and later San Francisco. He started making a name for himself alongside other notable Bay Area comics such as W. Kamau Bell and Nato Green.

Former Daily Show host Jon Stewart hired Minhaj as a correspondent before he left in 2014. Since then, Minhaj has made headlines for his work both on the show and off it, including his calling out of congress over its inability to pass gun control legislation at the 2016 Radio and Television Correspondents' Dinner.

Watch Minhaj's report on the "Muslim Makeover" for the Daily Show in 2014: