After her performance at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner caused a journalistic existential meltdown and tweet after tweet of liberal hand-wringing and conservative outrage, Michelle Wolf spoke to NPR’s Terry Gross about the whole comedic brouhaha. In excerpts of the interview that will air Tuesday afternoon, Wolf was unapologetic about her performance.
If Wolf’s surprised at the level of controversy resulting from her performance:
Wolf: I wasn’t expecting this level, but I’m also not disappointed there’s this level. 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. I actually, 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.”
On the expectation that “women will be nice”:
Michelle Wolf: I mean, I’m honestly – I wouldn’t change a single word that I said. I’m very happy with what I said, and I’m glad I stuck to my guns.
Gross: After one of your jokes about the women’s march and the, I can’t say the word, the p - - - - hats that women wore, and then you made a joke about female genitalia, you said, and I quote, “You should’ve done more research before you got me to do this.” I got the impression you really meant that.
Wolf: Yeah, I mean, I think I don’t know maybe I’m projecting this, but 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. 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.
Wolf also commented on her ribbing of White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “I think one of the things about being a comic is getting to actually, as a woman, I have access to hit women in a way that men might not be able to hit them with jokes,” Wolf said. “I don’t mean physically hit. But you know, because I’m a woman, I can say things about women because I know what it’s like to be a woman, if that makes any sense.”