Trevor Noah will headline the first White House Correspondents’ Dinner since the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the annual event in 2020.
Noah’s appearance will also mark a return to star-power for the gathering that had avoided entertainers in the wake of an acidly anti-Trump turn by comedian Michelle Wolf in 2018.
The White House Correspondents’ Association, which organizes the April 30 dinner at the Washington Hilton, announced the news on Monday.
“The White House Correspondents’ Dinner celebrates Americans’ freedoms and the working people who bring the news to the world,” CBS News Radio’s Steven Portnoy, president of the WHCA, said in a release. “Trevor is an incredible talent who keeps us laughing — and thinking — four nights a week.”
“We can’t wait for him to help bring our 100-year Washington tradition ‘Back to Abnormal,’ ” Portnoy added, in a nod to Noah’s current comedy tour.
The 37-year-old performer will also host the 64th Annual Grammy Awards in April.
The annual correspondent’s dinner traces back to 1921 and has historically been attended by members of the association as well as high-ranking government officials including the president and first lady.
Under former President Donald Trump , however, that tradition changed.
During the first three years of his term, Trump snubbed the gathering, telling reporters in 2019 that it was “too negative.”
“The dinner is so boring and so negative, that we’re going to hold a very positive rally … everybody wants it,” Trump said at the time. “The Correspondents’ Dinner is too negative, I like positive things.”
His White House also began avoiding the event after Wolf’s turn as emcee in 2018. Like comedians before her, she bluntly mocked several D.C. players including Trump spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, though critics said she went too far.
Trump had his own experience of that after he was roasted while in the audience at the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Association dinner by then-President Barack Obama.
In his book Republican Rescue, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie wrote that Trump “was staring straight ahead” as Obama teased him about his role in the racist “birther” conspiracy about Obama.
“Donald Trump is here tonight,” Obama said in his five-minute routine. “And I know he has taken some flak lately. But no one is happier, no one prouder, to put this birth certificate to rest than the Donald. And that’s because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter like, Did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?”
“He was rocking back and forth in his chair. He still didn’t break a smile,” Christie wrote of Trump at the dinner, which was held just three days after Obama released his long-form birth certificate, a document Trump had repeatedly insisted didn’t exist.
Christie continued: “I can say this much: I spoke to Donald after the dinner. He was pissed off like I’d never seen him before. Just beside himself with fury.”
The 2020 and 2021 WHCA events were canceled, meanwhile, due to the pandemic.
We hope Trevor lets the comedy fly — because this country is a joke.