Did you watch Michelle Wolf’s performance at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday night? I did. And I thought she was hilarious. Yet, her spot-on monologue has spurred a wave of indignation among Republicans and even some journalists.
Sure, it was on the raunchy side. And yes, she used some not-ready-for-prime-time language. But come on, people. The role of the comedian at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner has evolved into the equivalent of the host of a celebrity roast. Only with the President and his administration being roasted. Have you ever watched a celebrity roast? They can get pretty down and dirty.
Who can forget when Seth Meyers, host of the WHCD in 2011, threw some wicked shade at Donald Trump? “Donald Trump has been saying he will run for president as a Republican, which is surprising, since I just assumed he was running as a joke,” Meyers said.
Meyers added, “Donald Trump said recently he has ‘a great relationship with the blacks,’ but unless ‘the Blacks’ are a family of white people, I bet he is mistaken.”
Even then-President Obama poked fun at Trump, saying, “Just recently, in an episode of ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ at the steakhouse, the men’s cooking team did not impress the judges from Omaha Steaks. And there was a lot of blame to go around. But you, Mr. Trump, recognized that the real problem was a lack of leadership. And so, ultimately, you didn’t blame Lil’ Jon or Meatloaf. You fired Gary Busey. And these are the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night.”
So what did Michelle Wolf say that got people’s bowels in an uproar? She accused White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders of lying. In other words, she told the truth.
“Every time Sarah steps up to the podium,” Wolf said, “I get excited because I’m not really sure what we’re going to get. You know, a press briefing, a bunch of lies, or divided into softball teams.”
What’s the big deal? Everyone knows that Sarah Huckabee Sanders lies all the time. She restates and defends virtually all of the lies, misstatements, and untruths that come from her boss’ mouth.
Yet Michelle Wolf’s performance was panned by the right and even by many journalists in the mainstream media who claim to speak truth to power. They gnashed their teeth and said she went too far, even from the first joke she told: “Like a porn star says when she’s about to have sex with a Trump, let’s get this over with.”
She followed that with, “You can’t shut me up as a woman … unless you are Michael Cohen and wire me $130,000. You can find me on Venmo under my porn star name, Reince Priebus.”
Fantastic, right? And she got some good laughs. At first. But when she started going after the press, the mood in the room quickly changed. “What no one in this room wants to admit is Trump helped all of you,” she said. “He couldn’t sell steaks, vodka, water, college, ties, or Eric. But he has helped you sell your papers, books, and TV. You created this monster, and now you’re profiting off of him.”
All of what Michelle Wolf said was absolutely true. Yet, the head of the White House Correspondents’ Association, Margaret Talev, felt the need to issue a formal apology afterwards for “the entertainer’s monologue.” Talev said it was not in the spirit of the mission to “offer a unifying message about our common commitment to a vigorous and free press while honoring civility.”
Right. Never mind that Donald Trump calls the free press the enemy of the American people and continually denigrates the “failing” New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, and even takes personal shots at many mainstream media reporters.
While Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Kellyanne Conway repeat and reinforce all of Trump’s lies.
So apparently Michelle Wolf is suffering slings and arrows from all sides. I wonder if speaking the truth is going to be a career setback for this young, promising comedian. Is she going to be the victim of a real witch hunt?
I hope not.