UPDATE: President Donald Trump fired off one of his angry tweets at comedian Michelle Wolf on Tuesday—and Wolf was not having it. Referring to Wolf as a ‘so-called comedian,’ [Ed. note: Michelle Wolf did an HBO one-hour stand-up special, a frequent dream and goal of many actual comedians.] Trump suggested he may go to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner now that they’ve booked an author to talk about the First Amendment.
Wolf fired back shortly after, “I bet you’d be on my side if I had killed a journalist. #BeBest.” She’s, of course, referencing his administration’s decision not to punish Saudi Arabia for murdering and dismembering Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Her #BeBest hashtag throws shade at the First Lady Melania Trump, who chose online bullying as her issue to keep her busy during her husband’s term in office. The First Lady has publicly stated she wishes her husband would tweet less, but has come far short of using him as an example of online bullying.
— Michelle Wolf (@michelleisawolf) November 21, 2018
The White House Correspondents’ Dinner is going in a new direction and Michelle Wolf has something to say about it. For the first time in years, the dinner will not feature a speech from a comedian. Instead, the dinner with feature a talk from author Ron Chernow.
Olivier Knox, the President of the White House Correspondents’ Association, announced earlier this morning that Chernow would be the guest on WHCA’s website. Knox said, “I’m delighted that Ron will share his lively, deeply researched perspectives on American politics and history at the 2019 White House Correspondents’ Dinner.” She continued, “As we celebrate the importance of a free and independent news media to the health of the republic, I look forward to hearing Ron place this unusual moment in the context of American history.”
Last year’s correspondent’s dinner led to much controversy with conservatives—many of whom call the left ‘snowflakes’ as they denounce PC culture—complaining that Wolf’s jokes were too crude. The White House Correspondent’s Dinner gets coverage solely for the comedian booked to mock the administration, the press, and the nation. After the announcement this morning, Wolf took to Twitter to slam the WHCA on their choice. The former Netflix talk show host stated that she “could not be prouder.”
— Michelle Wolf (@michelleisawolf) November 19, 2018
President Donald Trump has not attended the event for the last two years and has given no indication that he will be in attendance for next year’s dinner on April 27, 2019.
Chernow has written six books and is mostly known for his in-depth tomb about the life of Alexander Hamilton, which became the basis for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s blockbuster musical, Hamilton.
The very first correspondent’s dinner featured comedy from Bob Hope in 1944. Since then, notable comedians such as Peter Sellers, Yakov Smirnoff, Jay Leno, Jon Stewart, and Conan O’Brien have headlined the annual event. Wolf was one of several women who has hosted the event, the first being Paula Poundstone in 1992.
The dinner truly broke into the public’s consciousness when Stephen Colbert, then-host of the satirical late night show Colbert Report on Comedy Central where he pretended to be an over-the-top conservative political pundit. The fake punditry followed The Daily Show’s fake news program. Someone didn’t get the memo, because he was booked for the 2006 dinner with President George W. Bush. His performance hit much harder than the Bush administration was expecting, as attendees previously unfamiliar with the comedian started to get the schtick. Since then, the opportunity to lampoon both news and politicians has been viewed as a high honor in comedy circles.
What was truly astonishing about Wolf’s routine was that conservatives were mad, but so were members of the WHCA and select liberals who viewed her jokes about Sarah Huckabee Sanders as over-the-line. Many people were mad…but the complaint was not that she wasn’t funny. The decision to switch to a renowned offer is both a safe and unoffensive option.
Back in May, publications like The Hill refused to attend the 2019 dinner unless changes were made. Then-president, Margaret Talev, issued a statement at the time which read, “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… Unfortunately, the entertainer’s monologue was not in the spirit of that mission.” We would say that Michelle Wolf brought the nation together towards a common enemy, but we’ve all been reading the news since then.
Did Wolf bomb like Trump suggests? Watch her performance below then let us know in the comments!