As the fifth woman in history to host the White House Correspondents’ dinner, comedian and writer Michelle Wolf set off a firestorm on social media. Her controversial performance on Saturday night hit a nerve with both those in attendance and those not. So much so that Margaret Talev, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, has since released a statement saying that the “entertainer’s monologue was not in the spirit” of their mission, which is meant to “offer a unifying message about [their] common commitment to a vigorous and free press.”
“Good evening. Here we are, the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Like a porn star says when she’s about to have sex with a Trump, let’s get this over with,” Wolf said as she opened. She continued, “I’m going to skip a lot of the normal pleasantries,” before making pointed jokes at members of the media, President Trump, Kellyanne Conway, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, among others.
Though the dinner has long been known for its lighthearted roasts, she has drawn criticism for her crude humor, in particular the jokes involving Sanders’ looks (Wolf joked that her smokey eye shadow was made of the ash from burnt facts). Still, Wolf is standing by her performance — and rightfully so. What exactly did the administration expect from the “Nice Lady” comedian?
Why are you guys making this about Sarah’s looks? I said she burns facts and uses the ash to create a *perfect* smoky eye. I complimented her eye makeup and her ingenuity of materials. https://t.co/slII9TYdYx
“I wouldn’t change a single word that I said. I’m very happy with what I said. And I’m glad I stuck to my gun,” Wolf said in an interview with NPR that airs today. “I knew what I was doing going in. I wanted to do something different. I didn’t want to cater to the room. I wanted to cater to the outside audience, and not betray my brand of comedy.”
When discussing whether or not she thought the organizers were, in fact, familiar with her brand of comedy, Wolf responded, “I think sometimes they look at a woman and they think ‘Oh, she’ll be nice,’ and if you’ve seen any of my comedy you know that I don’t — I’m not. I don’t pull punches. I’m not afraid to talk about things. And I don’t think they expected that from me. I think they still have preconceived notions of how women will present themselves and I don’t fit in that box.”
While many were quick to voice their outrage post-performance, others have jumped to Wolf’s defense, including former colleague Seth Meyers of “Late Night.” He spoke of the comedian: “She is filthy and she is mean — which is what we love about her. Because those are wonderful qualities for comedians, and terrible qualities for free-world leaders.”