That didn’t take long.
Comedian Michelle Wolf had barely left the podium at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner Saturday night when the backlash began. CNN’s chyron instantly called her routine “controversial” and journalists like The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman were applauding White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders for not walking out of the room when Wolf supposedly joked about her “physical appearance.”
But while the criticism of Wolf’s admittedly risky performance persisted, comedians—including her former Late Night boss Seth Meyers—were quick to come to her defense Sunday morning. And many focused on the fact that Sanders and others in the Trump White House have no leg to stand on when it comes to playing the victim.
For her part, Wolf not only responded to Haberman, but also to Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski, who said she found the comedian’s jokes “deplorable” and compared them to the time President Trump mocked her appearance on Twitter.
“I said she burns facts and uses the ash to create a *perfect* smoky eye,” Wolf replied. “I complimented her eye makeup and her ingenuity of materials.”
And it’s true. The punchline of Wolf’s joke had everything to do with Sanders’ tendency to mislead the press and nothing to do with her appearance. “Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s lies,” she said in the speech. “It’s probably lies.”
And then there is President Trump himself, who skipped the event for a rally in Washington, Michigan, but decided to weigh in with his review as well on Sunday morning. In his view, the “so-called comedian really ‘bombed.’” He even has an idea for who should host next year: Fox News host Greg Gutfeld.
If anything, Wolf proved herself to be the true heir to Stephen Colbert and his infamous 2006 performance in which he took President George W. Bush to task. Like with Wolf, Colbert’s jokes did not always land in the room and caused some serious “controversy” in the time. But history looks kindly upon that night and will likely do the same for Wolf.