Comedians defend Michelle Wolf for controversial jokes at White House Correspondents' dinner

Wolf's jokes, especially about Sarah Huckabee Sanders, have been under fire.

April 30, 2018, 10:58 AM

"Daily Show" correspondent Michelle Wolf has drawn criticism for comments she made while hosting this year's White House Correspondents Dinner. But fellow comedians have been coming to her defense.

Wolf's routine took aim at all of Washington, including the White House press corps, Democrats, Republicans, Trump and his administration. But the sharpest criticism Wolf drew came after jokes she made about press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

"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," the comedian said Saturday.

Wolf continued, "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."

And while many cried foul, thinking Wolf was making fun of Sanders' looks, Wolf clarified her joke later on Twitter.

PHOTO: Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Jonathan Karl attend the 2018 White House Correspondents' Dinner at Washington Hilton, April 28, 2018, in Washington, DC.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Jonathan Karl attend the 2018 White House Correspondents' Dinner at Washington Hilton, April 28, 2018, in Washington, DC.
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

"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," she tweeted Sunday. "I complimented her eye makeup and her ingenuity of materials."

One person who got the joke was comedian Andy Richter, who wrote on Twitter Sunday, "NO ONE MADE FUN OF HER LOOKS."

Billy Eichner didn't believe Wolf went too far, either.

"Sarah Huckabee Sanders lies to the American people almost every day and defends the lies, incompetence and cruel behavior of the most unqualified and embarrassing President in modern times," he wrote on Twitter. "You think the jokes last night were harsh? Wait until history has its way with her."

When one journalist said that Sanders was owed an apology, Jane Lynch disagreed. "Nope. No apology. Our house in on FIRE," she wrote on Twitter.

Another comedian who praised Wolf's set was late night host Jimmy Kimmel. He took to Twitter Sunday, writing, "Dear 'the media' - @michelleisawolf was FUNNY. Hire a juggler next year."

Another late night host, Seth Meyers, agreed, writing on Twitter, "Few people go to DC and accomplish what they set out to do while staying true to themselves. @michelleisawolf is one of those people."

Rosie O'Donnell praised Wolf in all caps, writing on Twitter: "SHE TOLD THE TRUTH AMERICA - POIGNANT AND PROFOUND #michellewolf."

"Carmichael Show" star David Alan Grier wrote, "Bravo! Michelle Wolfe was breathing fire last night! She went deep in tha PAINT! Hahaaaaaaaaaa! She was funny as hell!"

Responding to someone on Twitter, who called Wolf's set "mean," comedian Kathy Griffin wrote, "Please point us to the tweets where you said something like this about the President of the United States when he was attacking people at rallies and his supporters were laughing...IT WAS A ROAST."

Seth MacFarlane wrote on Twitter that he doesn't understand the intensity of the outrage.

"One of the biggest flaws of the 'left' is its frequent tendency to be more outraged by speech than action," he wrote Sunday. "On any given day, you’ll see more far online anger over an offensive joke than you will over mass incarceration or corporate pollution. We can do better than this."

Despite the praise, White House Correspondents Association president Margaret Talev said she heard from many members who expressed "dismay with the entertainer's monologue," she wrote in a statement.

"Last night's program was meant to offer a unifying message about our common commitment to a vigorous and free press while honoring civility, great reporting and scholarship winners, not to divide people," the statement, posted to Twitter, continued. "Unfortunately, the entertainer's monologue was not in the spirit of that mission."

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