In The Know

Roy Wood Jr. extends ‘Daily Show’s’ lead over ‘SNL’ on correspondents’ dinner entertainers

Roy Wood Jr. attends the 50th International Emmy Awards
Charles Sykes/Invision/AP
Roy Wood Jr. attends the 50th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton Midtown on Monday. Nov. 21, 2022, in New York.

With Roy Wood Jr. “The Daily Show” is extending its lead over “Saturday Night Live” for producing the most White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) dinner entertainers.

The “Daily Show” correspondent was announced Thursday as this year’s headliner for the April 29 gala in Washington.

The selection of Wood brings the number of comedians from Comedy Central’s satirical news program who have been tapped for the high-profile WHCA dinner hosting gig to seven, compared to five alumni from “SNL.”

The WHCA often turns to performers from both “The Daily Show” and NBC’s long-running sketch comedy show for its emceeing role — the headliner typically delivers roast-like remarks to a crowd of lawmakers and journalists at the dinner in a speech following the sitting president. For many, the gig has proven to be a tricky balancing act.

“A lot of people say no because it’s notoriously a very tough room,” Cecily Strong told ITK in 2015 ahead of her hosting duties while President Obama was in office. The “Saturday Night Live” star said at the time, “I was encouraged by a lot of people to say no. Comedian people. They’re like, ‘It’s the worst room, you even have to go after the funniest president.’ I’m just looking to break even.”

Last year, then-“Daily Show” host Trevor Noah headlined the WHCA dinner, the first gala held in two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Other past “Daily Show” staffers to get the job include: Michelle Wolf, whose scathing comedy set caused controversy in 2018, Hasan Minhaj and Larry Wilmore. Stephen Colbert was the pick for entertainer in 2006, while former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart took the position in 1997.

In addition to “SNL’s” Strong, Seth Meyers famously threw barbs Donald Trump’s way as the 2011 headliner, and Darrell Hammond took to the stage in 2001. Conan O’Brien, who was a writer on “Saturday Night Live” before becoming a late-night TV host, was the WHCA’s choice two times for the dinner: in 2013 and 1995. Former Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who made the leap from “SNL” to politics, also hosted twice, in 1996 and 1994.  

Tags Al Franken Cecily Strong Conan O'Brien Jon Stewart Nerd Prom Obama Trevor Noah WHCA White House Correspondents Dinner White House Correspondents Weekend White House Correspondents' Association White House Correspondents' Dinner

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