by Ted Johnson | Deadline
Roy Wood Jr. will be this year’s featured entertainer at the White House Correspondents’ Association’s annual dinner on April 29.
The Daily Show correspondent has a standup special, Imperfect Messenger, streaming on Paramount+.
The gig is a high profile assignment — drawing attention across cable news networks and countless clips on social media — but it’s also one of the most challenging. The entertainer typically follows the president on stage, in the cavernous Washington Hilton ballroom packed with almost 3,000 guests.
“Roy Wood Jr. brings a journalistic eye to his comedy. He’s hilarious — but also makes sure his audiences are thinking as they laugh,” Tamara Keith, the WHCA president and White House correspondent for NPR, said in a statement.
“My aim for this year’s dinner is to lift up the importance of a free and independent press to a functioning democracy, so I am thrilled to be able to feature a comedian who gets what journalism is all about.”
Wood was a broadcast journalism major at Florida A&M University when he launched his career in standup. He was morning news host at a Tallahassee radio station, followed by his own show on WBHL in Birmingham, AL, and three years at WALR in Atlanta. He joined The Daily Show as a correspondent in 2015. He’s appeared on HBO’s Def Comedy Jam and numerous other late night comedy shows, and was a top three finalist on NBC’s Last Comic Standing. He also was executive producer of the PBS documentary The Neutral Ground.
Wood said in a statement that it was “an honor to be part of a long-running tradition of celebrating those members of the media, who work so hard to uncover the truth, and hold our government accountable. It will be a great night that will go down in the history books, or not, depending on which state you live in.”
Wood’s father, Roy Wood Sr., was a radio and TV journalist who covered the civil rights movement, the South African Soweto race riots and the Rhodesia/Zimbabwe civil war, and he also reported from the front lines in Vietnam.
Last year’s entertainer was Trevor Noah, who recently departed as host of The Daily Show. The event was the first attended by a president since 2016. Donald Trump skipped the ceremony during his White House tenure. The 2020 and 2021 dinners were canceled due to Covid.
Bob Bain productions will again produce the event. Proceeds go to the WHCA, including student scholarships.
More to come.