The White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, which airs annually on C-SPAN and usually makes more than a few headlines, has been cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic. The event had already been postponed from April 25 until Aug. 29.
In a statement, Jonathan Karl, Chief White House Correspondent for ABC News and president of the WHCA, explained, “We’ve been working hard to reconfigure the dinner in ways to make it safe for guests and staff. But after consultation with medical experts, government authorities and our own members, we’ve concluded that it is just not possible to put on the kind of dinner that promotes the best in journalism and allows our guests to comfortably and safely enjoy themselves.”
Saturday Night Live‘s Kenan Thompson was slated to host this year’s gathering, while Patriot Act‘s Hasan Minhaj, who hosted in 2017, would have been the featured performer — marking a “return to comedy” for the proceedings following a one-year time-out. (In 2019, in response to Michelle Wolf’s polarizing 2018 WHCD gig, the dinner avoided controversy by choosing historian and Hamilton author Ron Chernow as its keynote speaker.)
In lieu of a dinner that packs thousands into a hotel ballroom, the WCHA hopes to host “a virtual presentation that would allow us to salute award-winning journalism, toast an impressive group of scholarship winners, and still enjoy a few laughs.”