In a pitiful display at the 2018 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner on Saturday night, comedian Michelle Wolf unleashed ugly and profane smears against Republicans and conservatives during her time on the dais — a performance that left even liberal news outlets with raised eyebrows and pointed reviews.
Although some liberals predictably thought Wolf was amusing — Rob Reiner, a guest of McClatchy, said he sensed the routine wasn’t going over well but that he believed “she spoke the truth,” according to The Washington Post — most were shocked or, at the very least, underwhelmed.
“Wolf’s remarks swerved from raunchy to downright nasty,” wrote Paul Farhi of The Post.
Even prior to the event, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee predicted the phoniness of the annual D.C. gathering of media elites: “There’s more authenticity at a wax museum than at a correspondent’s dinner,” he told Fox News host Judge Jeanine Pirro. “It’s a roomful of people hugging themselves so tightly it’s a wonder anyone can breathe.”
He’s right: Even wax figures have been getting better press than comedians these days, based on reviews of Melania Trump’s newly unveiled wax figure at Madame Tussauds.
But for liberals obsessed with women’s rights and the #MeToo movement, the performance on Saturday night was a baffling and hypocritical display of hateful woman-shaming.
“She was particularly hard on the women associated with Trump,” Farhi wrote, adding that “several cracks about [White House press secretary] Sarah Huckabee Sanders landed poorly.”
Netflix needs to cancel Michele Wolf's show! This is why everyone hates the media!
— Janet (@Janetspics) April 29, 2018
And Politico said Wolf’s performance “was a risqué and uneven routine at first met with laughs but often greeted by awkward silence.”
The comedic routine was replete with sexual innuendo and blatant vulgarities, a fact not lost on those in the room who expressed their displeasure on Twitter afterward.
After Wolf’s harsh remarks about Sarah Huckabee Sanders, “Some of the journalists from outlets known to spar with the White House or to be on the receiving end of pointed attacks directly from the president spoke out on Sanders’ behalf,” The Post reported.
“I actually really like Sarah. I think she’s very resourceful,” said Wolf from the dais. “She burns facts and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smoky eye. Like maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s lies. It’s probably lies.”
And this: “And I’m never really sure what to call Sarah Huckabee Sanders, you know? Is it Sarah Sanders, is it Sarah Huckabee Sanders, is it Cousin Huckabee, is it Auntie Huckabee Sanders? What’s Uncle Tom but for white women who disappoint other white women? Oh, I know. Ann Coulter.”
The president, who spoke to the American people instead at a Michigan rally, was also (predictably) an easy target.
“[Trump] loves white nationalists, which is a weird term for a Nazi,” said Wolf. “Calling a Nazi a white nationalist is like calling a pedophile a ‘kid friend.’ Or Harvey Weinstein a ‘lady’s man.'”
Trump tweeted later about the tasteless routine, noting, “While Washington, Michigan, was a big success, Washington, D.C., just didn’t work. Everyone is talking about the fact that the White House Correspondents’ Dinner was a very big, boring bust … The so-called comedian really ‘bombed.'”
Perhaps Wolf’s most disgusting comments were on the topic of abortion. One joke centered on Vice President Mike Pence’s pro-life stance, reported the Washington Examiner.
I would like to thank Michele Wolf for securing 2018 MAGA victory for the mid term elections.
— #Translation Goat® (@NotThatGoat) April 29, 2018
“He thinks abortion is murder,” Wolf said, “which, first of all, don’t knock it ’til you try it — and when you do try it, really knock it. You know, you’ve got to get that baby out of there. And yeah, sure, you can groan all you want. I know a lot of you are very anti-abortion. You know, unless it’s the one you got for your secret mistress.”
“I love irreverent humor. Abortion is not funny, it’s a human tragedy. Wh correspondents Assoc. owes America an apology,” tweeted Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union.
Schlapp later tweeted that he and his wife, Mercedes Schlapp, a senior member of the White House communications team, walked out of the event.
As Independent Journal Review senior editor Caleb Hull affirmed in a succinct tweet: “This is why Trump won.”
Michelle Wolf didn’t fail just because she was (spectacularly) one-sided. It was because she was unnecessarily cruel on a night the WHCA was trying to showcase decency and purpose.
Undermined an otherwise meaningful night.
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) April 29, 2018
The winner of last night was hands down @PressSec. Sitting poised and beautiful as #wchd comedian Michelle Wolf reminded us how ugly we can be when tearing another person down. I hope this inspires us all to be better, kinder, non-judging people.
— Abby Huntsman (@HuntsmanAbby) April 29, 2018
My wife @mercedesschlapp and I walked out early from the wh correspondents dinner. Enough of elites mocking all of us
— Matt Schlapp (@mschlapp) April 29, 2018