Comedian Michelle Wolf broke the silence about her performance at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner, defending the controversial stand-up show.
“I mean, I’m honestly — I wouldn’t change a single word that I said,” Wolf told NPR following the outrage that was sparked over the dinner on Saturday. “I’m very happy with what I said, and I’m glad I stuck to my guns.”
During the interview with NPR, Wolf later said that she believed people had the expectation that she would be nicer because she is female.
“I think — I don’t know, maybe I’m projecting this — but I think sometimes they look at a woman and they think, ‘Oh, she’ll be nice,’” she said, “and if you’ve seen any of my comedy you know that I don’t … pull punches. I’m not afraid to talk about things. And I don’t think they expected that from me.”
During the interview, she also argued that people should be able to laugh at themselves.
“There’s plenty where you could look back and the camera was on Obama when people were making pretty aggressive jokes about Obama, and he was laughing,” Wolf said. “And I think having the ability to laugh at yourself is important.”
While her routine jabbed at politicians from both sides of the aisle, the White House press corps, and the Trump administration, she drew sharp criticism for her jokes about press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
She compared Sanders to Aunt Lydia, who is a malevolent character from the dystopian TV series “The Handmaid’s Tale,” later adding that Sanders is an “Uncle Tom” for white women.
“Every time Sarah steps up to the podium, I get excited because I’m not sure what we’re going to get: A press briefing, a bunch of lies or divided into softball teams,” Wolf joked. “I actually really like Sarah. I think she’s very resourceful. But she burns facts and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smokey eye. Like maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s lies. It’s probably lies.”
Wolf’s performance drew an overwhelmingly negative response from the public, including journalists, major politicians, and President Trump. The president of the White House Correspondent’s Association, Margaret Talev, was pressured to issue a statement. Ultimately, Talev said that Wolf’s monologue was “not in the spirit” of the dinner.
— WHCA (@whca) April 30, 2018
President Trump, who did not attend the dinner, took to Twitter to criticize Wolf and the dinner.
“The so-called comedian really ‘bombed,’” Trump tweeted on Sunday.
Additionally, Trump tweeted that the annual dinner was “dead” and “was a total disaster and an embarrassment to our great Country and all that it stands for.”
Wolf took to Twitter to clarify some of her jokes after the dinner concluded.
“Why are you guys making this about Sarah’s looks? I said she burns facts and uses the ash to create a *perfect* smokey eye,” Wolf said in defense of her comedy after some conservatives scrutinized her smokey eye joke. “I complimented her eye makeup and her ingenuity of materials.”
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
— Michelle Wolf (@michelleisawolf) April 29, 2018
Other renowned comedians came to Wolf’s defense, including Seth Meyers, Jane Lynch, and Jimmy Kimmel.
Few people go to DC and accomplish what they set out to do while staying true to themselves. @michelleisawolf is one of those people.
— Seth Meyers (@sethmeyers) April 29, 2018
Nope. No apology. Our house is on FIRE
— Jane Lynch (@janemarielynch) April 29, 2018
Dear "the media" – @michelleisawolf was FUNNY. Hire a juggler next year.
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) April 29, 2018