Comedian and political commentator Larry Wilmore will host the White House Correspondents' Dinner next year, the association announced on Wednesday morning. The Nightly Show host will emcee the annual event on April 30, when President Obama, top White House officials, and, of course, members of the press will gather to watch Wilmore roast them all. White House Correspondents' Association President Carol Lee said that Wilmore's "edgy, even provocative, brand of humor" made him an easy choice and is thrilled that he will host the last dinner during Obama's presidency.
In announcing its decision, Lee said in a statement:
Larry's edgy, even provocative, brand of humor means he's certainly up to the task of skewering politicians of all ideological stripes, and we don't expect the nation's news media to escape unscathed, either. We are thrilled that Larry has accepted our invitation to be the featured comedian at our annual dinner, which will be the last during the Obama White House.
Wilmore is an ideal choice for another reason. Before he took over Stephen Colbert's Comedy Central time slot with The Nightly Show, Wilmore was a regular correspondent on The Daily Show, first appearing in 2006 under the satirical title "Senior Black Correspondent." Wilmore's main role was covering Barack Obama and the 2008 election cycle, so he should have no problem coming up with material about our commander-in-chief.
The Emmy-award winning comedian has indeed taken an edgier approach than some of his contemporaries, including his former boss, Jon Stewart. When national tragedies prompted Stewart to tread lightly and exhibit rare moments of somberness, Wilmore proceeds with his mission to "find the humor in the humanity" of tragedy. What this could mean for the attendees at next year's White House Correspondents' Dinner is a no-holds-barred roasting. Viewers will have to wait until April to see whether Wilmore's emcee skills hold up to his late-night predecessor, Colbert, who hosted the dinner in 2006 and gave what is widely considered to be the harshest roast in the dinner's history.
The White House Correspondents Association is an organization made up of journalists who cover the president and the White House. Its annual dinner has been a tradition since 1920, attended by the president, first lady, vice president, and other senior government officials. Besides a night of mockery and celebration of the relationship between Washington and its press corps, the dinner will also raise funds for journalism scholarships and awards.