Michelle Wolf is defending her performance at the White House Correspondents Dinner – despite backlash from some journalists, conservatives and even President Donald Trump.
“I wouldn’t change a single word that I said,” Wolf told NPR’s Terry Gross in an interview for Fresh Air, which is set to air Tuesday. “I’m very happy with what I said, and I’m glad I stuck to my guns.”
Wolf, best known for her role on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and her HBO stand-up special, faced an onslaught of criticism after her performance at the annual correspondents dinner in Washington, D.C., last Saturday, where she jabbed the Trump Administration, Democrats, Republicans and the media. Some journalists and politicians took particular issue with how she roasted White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, claiming Wolf targeted her appearance when she joked about Sanders’ “smoky eye” make-up.
Trump even weighed in, tweeting, “The filthy ‘comedian’ totally bombed.”
Wolf, who has her own Netflix show debuting later this month, told Gross that while she expected backlash, she wasn’t expecting “this level.”
“But I’m also not disappointed there’s this level,” she said. “I knew what I was doing going in. 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.”
She added: “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.’”
Comedians and others have defended Wolf’s routine in recent days, lauding her routine and her efforts to lambaste both sides of the aisle and the news media – along with the Trump Administration. In her NPR interview, Wolf said organizers should have expected her sort of brash humor when they hired her.
In her HBO special released in December 2017, Wolf called Hillary Clinton, the first female presidential nominee for a major political party, “a b–ch.” Wolf explained to Gross that she explains in the special that she used that term as “a compliment.”
“I think sometimes they look at a woman and they think ‘Oh, she’ll be nice,’ and if you’ve seen any of my comedy you know that I don’t – I’m not,” Wolf told NPR. “I don’t pull punches. 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 podcast for the interview goes live at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. It will also air Tuesday on WHYY’s Fresh Air. Check local listings for broadcast times.