News & Politics

What to Know About Colin Jost, Host of This Year’s WHCA Dinner

The SNL comic has a surprising Pete Buttigieg connection

Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2022. Photograph by Dan Swartz.

The White House Correspondents’ Association has picked the comedian, writer, and self-proclaimed owner of “A Very Punchable Face” Colin Jost as featured performer at this year’s White House Correspondents Dinner. Jost is most famous for spending almost a decade behind Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update desk with co-anchor Michael Che, and for being married to Scarlett Johansson. But here are some other things to know about him  ahead of the event, which takes place April 27 at the Washington Hilton.


He’s used to ripping into politicians

Since joining the SNL team as a writer in 2005, Jost has written about quite a few elections, scandals, and political blunders. He’s won five Writers Guild Awards and two Peabody Awards, plus he has been nominated for 13 Emmys. In the press release announcing this year’s featured performer, WHCA president Kelly O’Donnell said that Jost’s “sharp insights perfectly meet this remarkable time of divided politics, and a presidential campaign careening toward a rematch.”


He was once a journalist

Jost might play a parody of a broadcast news anchor on SNL, but he’ll still be in good company among the journalists at the WHCD. He got his start at the student newspaper of his Staten Island high school and briefly worked at the Staten Island Advance as a reporter and editor. During his time at Harvard, he wrote for the Crimson and served as the president of the Harvard Lampoon, just as SNL alum and host of the 2013 WHCD Conan O’Brien did before him. 


He was college dormmates with Pete Buttigieg

Back in 2000, a future SNL head writer and a future Mayor of South Bend were Harvard freshmen living in the same dorm. Fittingly, Jost also appeared as Buttigieg in a sketch in 2020, when Buttigieg was running for president. While robotically imitating Mayor Pete’s arm movements, Jost playfully referenced their shared alma mater: “I went to Harvard, but they don’t teach you where to put your arms,” he said in character as Buttigieg. 


This won’t be his first time on a DC stage

In 2019, Duke Ellington School of the Arts alum Dave Chapelle was presented with the Mark Twain prize for American Humor. Jost took the stage at the Kennedy Center with Michael Che and Kenan Thompson to honor the comedian. Well, sort of. “I’m here to celebrate Mark Twain. To me, that’s comedy,” Jost joked in his remarks, which were met with a standing ovation from Chapelle. He and Johansson also appeared on the Kennedy Center red carpet in 2021, supporting Kennedy Center Honors recipient and SNL executive producer Lorne Michaels.

Omega Ilijevich
Editorial Fellow