The opportunity to roast the president at the annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner in Washington, D.C. is one of the most prominent and treacherous gigs a comedian can book. At next year's dinner, set to take place in April, the hosting honors will go to late-night host Jimmy Kimmel, who joins the ranks of past emcees Jay Leno, Stephen Colbert, Wanda Sykes, Jon Stewart, and Saturday Night Live's Seth Meyers, who earned critical acclaim last spring for his shots at Donald Trump and Obama's aging appearance. "Jimmy's humor is sophisticated and edgy while appealing to a wide audience," says Caren Bohan, President of the White House Correspondents' Association. Is he up to the task?
His selection makes perfect sense: Kimmel's the right guy for the "intimidating gig," says Lisa de Moraes at The Washington Post. His career has been "on a roll," with his late-night talk show enjoying its best ratings in four years, and delivering the biggest year-to-year gains of all the late-night talkers. And, of course, Kimmel is "an old hand with unruly crowds," having hosted ESPN's ESPY Awards and the American Music Awards (five times). He also served as toastmaster at Hugh Hefner and Pamela Anderson's Comedy Central roasts.
"Jimmy Kimmel tapped for correspondents' dinner"
He lacks political-humor cred: Past emcees Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers won raves for their sharp political jabs, says Karin Tanabe at Politico. While Kimmel regularly works D.C. jokes into his late-night monologues, he'd have to "sharpen his Inside the Beltway knowledge" to compete with those predecessors. Instead, expect a routine that relies on the sort of celebrity-packed viral videos Kimmel's known for ("I'm F--king Matt Damon" or "The Handsome Men's Club"). "In this economy, that just might be the right vibe."
"Jimmy Kimmel will headline WHCA dinner"
A break from political mockery might be welcome: As fun as it was to watch Colbert take President Bush to task in 2006, "I think you only get away with it once," says Katey Rich at Cinema Blend. "The more hosts that choose the dinner as a political platform, the less likely it is the Presidential administrations will allow themselves to be teased." Kimmel, the "genial funnyman," doesn't seem the type to cruelly mock the President. If he's merely nice and merely funny, he'll have accomplished "what they hired him for."
"Jimmy Kimmel will get political hosting White House Correspondents' Dinner"