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‘Daily Show’s’ Hasan Minhaj to headline White House correspondents’ dinner

“The Daily Show’s” Hasan Minhaj is headlining the first White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) dinner with President Trump in the Oval Office.

“It’s a different dinner. President Trump has said he will not be coming, but we will still be celebrating the First Amendment and the importance of a free press and Hasan brings all of that,” WHCA President Jeff Mason said Tuesday as he disclosed the performer for the April 29 event on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“He brings comedy chops, but he also brings heart,” Mason added of the 31-year-old comedian, a senior correspondent on Comedy Central’s faux news program since 2014.

{mosads}Minhaj, who once wrote an off-Broadway show about “navigating between two worlds” as a first-generation Indian-American, will “make some jokes, no doubt, about the press and probably about the president, but he’s also going to bring the message that we hope to get across that night: that the First Amendment is critical and the work of the White House press corps and journalists around the world is very important,” Mason said.

The celebrity and press-filled dinner, which raises money for journalism scholarships, has been in the spotlight amid unprecedented tensions between the White House and news outlets.

Trump has had an often-hostile, and at times toxic, relationship with the media — once calling “fake news” the “enemy of the people.”

In February, he said he would break tradition by not attending the annual Washington fete.

“I was not looking for somebody who was going to roast the president in absentia,” Mason on Tuesday said of the Minhaj pick. “That’s not fair and that’s not the message we want to get across.”

Minhaj may not enjoy the notoriety of some of the previous WHCA dinner performers, who in recent years have included late-night hosts Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers and “Saturday Night Live’s” Cecily Strong. Former “Nightly Show” host Larry Wilmore headlined the black-tie affair last year.

“I was looking for somebody who was funny and who was entertaining,” Mason said Tuesday, but someone who could also “speak to the message” and “strike the right balance.”

Several news organizations have also opted to nix soirees that are tied to the WHCA dinner. Bloomberg, Vanity Fair, People and The New Yorker are just some of the outlets that canned their usual glitzy galas. Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter told The New York Times earlier this year that the reason for his magazine’s cancellation of its VIP event was “Trump” and “the fish.”

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