American Muslim comedian of Indian descent Hasan Minhaj to perform at WHCA 2020

indica News Bureau-

Hasan Minhaj, an American comedian of Indian descent who has acquired a lot of fan base in both US and India, will perform at the annual dinner of the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA). Minhaj, in his stand-up acts has been critical of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as that of US President Donald Trump.

Kenan Thompson, the actor and longest-tenured Saturday Night Live cast-member, will serve as the host for the annual White House Correspondents Association’s (WHCA) dinner on April 25 this year.

The WHCA announced on Thursday, “Hasan Minhaj, the Peabody award-winning host of Netflix’s Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj, will return to the dinner as featured entertainer.” His one-hour Netflix comedy special Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King was released in 2017, for which he won his first Peabody Award in 2018.

Minhaj was the entertainer at the 2017 WHCA Dinner when he was a senior correspondent on The Daily Show. In 2008, he won Wild 94.9’s “Best Comic Standing” competition, which resulted in his working as an opening act for Katt Williams, Pablo Francisco, and Gabriel Iglesias.

Minhaj comes from a Muslim family originally from Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh, India. His parents, Najme and Seema migrated to Davis, California, where Minhaj was born and raised. In addition to English, he is fluent in Hindi and Urdu. His sister, Ayesha Minhaj, is an attorney in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Indian-American comedian has had his shares of controversies as well which only catapulted him to popularity. On June 18, 2016, Minhaj performed a set as the host of the annual Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner that gained a lot of public attention for his condemnation of the United States Congress’ inaction in passing gun control legislation. Back in 2014, while working as a correspondent at the Daily Show, Friday before Minhaj’s audition, Ben Affleck and Bill Maher got into a heated exchange about Islam on Maher’s show, and Minhaj used this for a new sketch he called “Batman vs. Bill Maher” that also garnered a lot of views.

“Kenan and Hasan are two of the most engaged and engaging entertainers in America. I’m thrilled they’ll help us celebrate the role of a free press in our democracy,” said Jonathan Karl, Chief White House Correspondent for ABC News and president of the WHCA.

“We’re looking forward to a lively evening honoring the most important political journalism of the past year,” he said.

As for Thompson, he began his career as a member of Nickelodeon’s sketch series All That. Thompson is currently in his 17th season on SNL, where he has set a record for the most celebrity impressions performed on the show. In 2018, he received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics and a nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, reported India Today.

At its annual dinner, WHCA will be presenting two new awards – The Katharine Graham Award for Courage and Accountability and the Award for Excellence in Presidential News Coverage by Visual Journalists.

These are in addition to the longstanding Aldo Beckman Award for Overall Excellence in White House Coverage and Merriman Smith Award for Excellence in Presidential News Coverage Under Deadline Pressure.

This year’s dinner will also include the inaugural presentation of the Collier Prize for State Government Accountability, administered by the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications to recognize outstanding statehouse reporting, said India Today.

However, President Trump has not attended the WHCA dinner since the last three year is unlikely to be present at the event this year as well, say sources.

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