News & Politics

“Community” Star Joel McHale Will Host White House Correspondents Dinner

He’s no Colbert, but at least he’s a lot funnier than Leno.

Joel McHale, funny person popular with the young people of today. Photograph by RoidRanger via Shutterstock.

Joel McHale, the star of Community and host of The Soup was announced today as the host of the White House Correspondents Association Dinner on May 3.

McHale, who started out as a stand-up and improvisational comic in Seattle, keeps his routine mostly apolitical, but that doesn’t mean he’s a soft-puncher like some of the correspondents association’s favorite entertainers, like four-time host Jay Leno. (For evidence, see McHale’s bit on his fellow E! host Ryan Seacrest.)

And as host of The Soup, a program that eviscerates talk shows and reality shows, McHale is well-practiced at skewering high-profile figures with fragile egos. He should have no problem ripping apart a room full of lawmakers, blow-dried cable news hosts, and their Hollwood guests. In fact, he’s already started.

This year’s dinner—or “nerd prom,” as it is referred to by people who actually enjoy the annual confluence of Washington-famous people and actual famous people—will mark the 100th anniversary of the correspondents association, which over the past century has transformed from a clubby trade organization into an overblown party-planning committee whose signature achievement is making a mile-long stretch of Connecticut Ave., Northwest, a traffic nightmare for three days every spring.

And while it’s unlikely McHale will fly as close to the sun as past hosts like Stephen Colbert and Wanda Sykes, who ruffled the proper Washington so much that they were succeeded by hoary lightweights (Rich Little, Jay Leno), there’s a chance that he’s just the right level of mean.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.