Kenan Thompson to host White House Correspondents' Dinner marking end of comedy boycott

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The White House Correspondents’ dinner is making a move back to comedy after announcing that this year’s ceremony will be hosted by “Saturday Night Live” star Kenan Thompson.

The annual black tie event, which brings together journalists and administration officials, is well known for its comedic grilling of US officials and is set to be held on April 25.

Having veered away from its long held tradition of a comedic host last year amidst criticism of Michelle Wolf’s controversial set, the association is returning to its roots with the announcement of Thompson as host alongside entertainment from Hasan Minhaj.

“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,” White House Correspondents’ Association President Jonathan Karl said in a statement Tuesday.

“We’re looking forward to a lively evening honouring the most important political journalism of the past year,” Karl said.

Thompson began his career as a member of Nickelodeon’s sketch series All That but is also well known for his leading role in the teenage sitcom Kenan and Kel.

However, Thompson is now recognised as a series regular on Saturday Night Live, having performed in 17 seasons of the late night comedy show.

Minhaj, who currently hosts Netflix’s Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj, has previously served as the entertainer for the dinner in 2017 while working as a comedy correspondent on The Daily Show.

In 2018 comedian Michelle Wolf’s ‘brutal’ routine caused several audience members to walk out after ripping into senior White House staff.

As a result, last year’s dinner featured renowned Pulitzer Prize winning author Ron Chernow, marking the end of years of tradition of having a stand-up comedian host the event.

It is unclear yet if President Donald Trump will opt to skip the dinner for the third year running, having chosen to boycott the event since he took office in favour of hosting a campaign rally and having last year ordered administration officials not to attend.

Presidents and First Ladies have habitually attended the event but Trump, who has long feuded with national press, is the first president to have skipped the dinner since 1981.