Michelle Wolf performed a roast at the annual White House Correspondent’s Dinner.
While she had some amazing burns against a lot of people, a lot of the focus — and criticism — was on a short segment in which Wolf took aim at White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Now, Wolf is speaking up about the criticism. And she wouldn’t change a thing.
In an interview with NPR, Michelle Wolf says that she is glad that she said what she did at the WHCD.
And, after discussing some of the logistics of speaking at the correspondent’s dinner in contrast with a normal roast or especially a stand-up gig, she talks about the backlash.
“I wasn’t expecting this level, but I’m also not disappointed there’s this level. I knew what I was doing going in.”
It’s good that she was prepared.
“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.”
Artistic integrity is important.
“I actually, a friend of mine who helped me write, he gave me a note before I went on which I kept with me which was, ‘Be true to yourself. Never apologize. Burn it to the ground.'”
Wolf talks about how the WHCD has changed in recent years.
“I think a lot of it and what I’ve seen in the past is they poke little fun, they kind of poke fun at deeper dives in news media.”
Notably, some people were outraged at Stephen Colbert in 2006 for “getting too political.”
But there are many people who feel that George W. Bush should be sent to the Hague for war crimes, so they’d say that some political commentary is getting off easy.
“They’ll go kind of table by table pointing at people and making fun of them, in a way that I think used to be fun because the dinner used to have the president there, it used to be we’re all poking fun of each other, the president’s going to poke fun at us, we’re going to hit back.”
Donald Trump is notoriously thin-skinned, and it is difficult to imagine that he would enjoy even a lighthearted roasting if it touched on certain subjects — such as his alleged wealth, or his multiple business failures.
“Now it seems like it’s a much more serious environment and to kind of not go after the big issues and just have a little fun in the room seemed just not as exciting to me.”
Though Wolf is hardly the first to go after Sarah Huckabee Sanders, her lines about the Press Secretary received the most scrutiny and backlash.
“I mean, I’m honestly – 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 guns.”
She suspects that perhaps people were shocked at her words because of her gender.
“Yeah, I mean, 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 says that she is not nice.
“And if you’ve seen any of my comedy you know that I don’t — I’m not. I don’t pull punches.”
Good for her.
“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.”
The interviewer asks Wolf what she has to say about people who heard her lines about Sanders as an attack on her appearance.
“I think they didn’t pay attention to what was said.”
For the record, her criticism for Sanders was over the fact that she lies to the American people for a living and over the fact that he’s pretty hostile when she does it.
“Yeah, I mean, if there is two people that I actually made fun of their looks on Saturday it was Mitch McConnell and Chris Christie.”
She referred to Christie as a “barrel” and said that McConnell was having his neck circumcised.
“And no one is jumping to their defense. I made fun of Mitch McConnell’s neck and I did a small jab at Chris Christie’s weight and no one is jumping to their defense.”
In the mean time, what she actually said about Sanders’ appearance was that she has a “perfect smokey eye.” That is a literal compliment.
“I think one of the things about being a comic is getting to actually, as a woman, I have access to hit women in a way that men might not be able to hit them with jokes. I don’t mean physically hit.”
“But you know, because I’m a woman, I can say things about women because I know what it’s like to be a woman, if that makes any sense.”
Honestly, the most important things that Wolf said had nothing to do with the Press Secretary.
She pointed out that Trump has the support white nationalists, and pointed out that it was an oddly soft word to use to describe nazis.
(Wolf compares it to calling a pedophile a “kid friend”)
She also reminded the world that Flint, Michigan still does not have clean drinking water.
Honestly, good for Wolf for speaking her mind, at the dinner and on NPR.
And no matter how much backlash she receives, her roast made a great advertisement for her upcoming Netflix special.