What’s Donald Trump’s favorite proverb, again? The one about the woman and the snake? The one that says, essentially, “When people show you who they are, believe them!”? Yeah, that one.
The president likes to use it to stoke anti-immigrant anxieties among his followers, and the press reports on it that way. Personally, I think he’s just softening the ground for when all his crap comes to light, but for now, let’s take his advice: when a comedian from a late-night, left-leaning comedy show tells you, word-for-word: “This is who you’re getting tonight” and “Yeah, shoulda done more research before you got me to do this” don’t be shocked when she bites! Michelle Wolf‘s performance at the White House Correspondents Dinner — an outdated, pointless DC event that EVERYONE hates — was not so much an attack on President Trump’s terrible values and corrupting influence, as it was just one more example of his Administrations’ inability to properly vet candidates for anything and its overarching disdain for expertise.
Pro Tip to whoever is really the Chief of Staff (because this thin-skinned bunch had to have final approval): Comedy is a profession. It takes a performer years to perfect a routine, to craft and structure a joke so that it lands, no matter who they’re in front of or where they are. They do this in bowling alleys, dinner theaters, restaurants, small rooms in large towns, big rooms in small towns. They bomb, they kill, but most of all, they work and they have a point of view. Michelle Wolf doesn’t care if the room was cold; she was at work. She is a 32-year-old woman who writes and performs “observational” comedy and what she’s observing in the Trump Administration is a venal, handsy grifter in the highest office of the land, served by sycophants, liars, and a political class that is happy to overlook his myriad failings, both as a person and a public servant, in order to advance an agenda that is harmful to women, people of color, and poor people.
She did her job.
Good comedians are honest with themselves and their audiences. You can be a good comedian and not appeal to everyone’s taste. Michelle Wolf was good.
Wolf ragged on herself, on Congress, on the press, on the president, and on the situation we are all in. On the whole, a pretty solid set, with a few minor vulgarities of the type the president himself apparently uses in the gold-plated locker rooms of his many golf properties. But oh, the outrage! The hollow hand-wringing over decorum and (god help us) norms of behavior, with a goodly dose of willful misinterpretation.
I actually heard some woman on one of the Sunday shows interpret the following joke as a slam on Sarah Huckabee Sanders that implied she is a “fat lesbian“:
We’re graced with Sarah’s presence tonight. I have to say I’m a little star-struck. I love you as Aunt Lydia in “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
Mike Pence, if you haven’t seen it, you would love it.
Just…what?! How partisan do you have to be to interpret a pretty accurate reading of Ms. Sanders’ position as mouthpiece for a misogynist White House as a dig on her looks or orientation? Or rather, how top-of-mind are your own feelings about Sarah Sanders that you just assume any joke about her would be about her appearance?
I have to hand it to the Press Secretary: she sat there and took it. Her job is difficult and I loathe how she approaches it, but she took the lumps, unlike her boss, who was far, far away, stepping on his tongue and the rule of law all the while basking in applause. Like all bullies, he is a coward who can’t take a joke.
Look, if the Administration really wants to go through this again next year and wants a comedian more in line with Making America Great Again, they can find one. Any morning DJ show, or in Howard Stern’s contact list, or most male headliners from the 80s. One time I saw a guy in Los Angeles in 1984 talk for close to an hour about trying to get laid, finally getting laid but the girl was ugly, and how hard it was to poo sometimes. Oh wait. That was every time.
The point is, pick one that speaks your truth. I’m pretty sure this guy is available:
Meanwhile, spare me the pearl clutching.