Television actor and comedian Joel McHale has been tapped to host and entertain at the 2014 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. This year’s event, marking the organization’s centennial, will be held on May 3.
The annual White House Correspondents’ event draws attendees from across the political spectrum, the President and First Lady, reporters and numerous Hollywood celebrities. The featured entertainer is tasked with making everyone laugh at each other and themselves. In addition to the host, President Obama has delivered comedy routines of his own each year.
Joel McHale has a lot of experience poking fun at many of the reporters and politicians on his E! Network show, The Soup, since 2004. The show looks at off-beat or strange things that aired on television that week. McHale’s comically introduces and skewers the clips from other TV shows. Many of the morning talk show reporters and broadcasters who will be at the dinner have been targets of McHale’s on The Soup, so they should be used to his ribbing.
The president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, Steven Thomma, noted that the organization tapped Joel McHale to host the dinner because he is sharp and the type of comic who can navigate the challenge, making fun across the board at the President, Democrats, Republicans and the news media. McHale released a Twitter comment about the hosting gig where he promised his material will equally offensive to all and, like a Congressional work year, over in 30 minutes.
The 42-year-old comic is also a star on NBC’s Community. Heading into its fifth season, the ensemble comedy series is about an offbeat study group at fictional Greendale Community College. McHale plays a smart-mouthed lawyer, Jeff Winger, who returned to school after being disbarred for not having a legitimate degree.
McHale has also appeared in Spider-Man 2, Ted, and Spy Kids: All the Time in the World as well as in featured roles on several other television shows including CSI: Miami and Sons of Anarchy. He was born in Rome, Italy, and raised in Seattle, Washington. McHale earned a Masters in Fine Arts degree in acting and a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Washington.
The White House Correspondents’ Association is celebrating its centennial this year. It was founded in February 1914 to represent and support the White House press corps. The organization handles logistics for reporters covering and traveling with the president, advocates for access, and other needs. The dinner was started in 1920 and now attracts a lot of media coverage itself and an appearance by the sitting President.
The event, which airs on C-SPAN, is such as Washington fixture that it was worked into the plot of the ABC show Scandal last season. Many of the celebrities who attended last year are on television shows set in and around Washington politics, including Scandal’s Kerry Washington and Tony Goldwyn, Homeland’s Claire Danes and Moreno Baccarin, VEEP’s Julia Louis Dreyfus, and House of Cards’ Kate Mara, Robin Wright and Kevin Spacey.
Prior to Joel McHale, the White House Correspondents’ Association has tapped other comedians to host, including Seth Meyers in 2011, Jimmy Kimmel in 2012, and Conan O’Brien in 2013. Jay Leno hosted four times (1987, 2000, 2004, and 2010).
By Dyanne Weiss