Killing The Messenger: On The Michelle Wolf Roast
Written by Joe von Hutch
Art by C-SPAN
If you haven’t watched Michelle Wolf’s performance at the recent White House Correspondents Dinner, watch it now. I loved all of it, especially the end, but it’s not clear if I’m in the majority.
Her targets obviously hated it. So-called President Trump tweeted that the “so-called comedian really ‘bombed.’” Sarah Huckabee Sanders took five days to respond with the adult equivalent of “I know you are but what am I” by suggesting that Michelle Wolf attacked her eye shadow because she wasn’t ‘happy enough,’ and outgoing White House Correspondents Association president Margaret Talev, after praising Wolf’s comedy, promptly threw her under the bus.
I call these the “not funny” people, and it’s easy to ignore them because as Mariah Carey said about J Lo, “I don’t know her.” At this point in my life I’ve alienated all family members who are too religiously or politically conservative and ditched any friends who can’t get into the right kind of parties. My liberal bubble stretches from Berlin to LA, and the only people whose opinions I still hear think exactly like me.
Or so I thought, until I discovered that there are people who think Michelle Wolf’s routine was funny, but not funny enough. They kind of get the jokes but not really because they stopped paying attention to the rising fear and authoritarianism that makes life in the age of Trump anything but funny.
These people I know. They’re my friends or friends of my friends. When I meet them for the first time in a bar or at a party, I think we must be alike because we know the same people and like the same things. Thinking we’re alike tricks me into letting my guard down and sharing my opinions about everything wrong with the world until I notice them nodding politely and looking for the exits.
“Not funny enough” people are the fake allies accusing Michelle Wolf of being vulgar for repeating Trump’s words about pussygrabbing and a bad feminist for calling out other women’s lies. They use all the right liberalspeak to hide a secret conservative agenda, but if you ask three simple questions it’s easy to learn who’s down for the revolution and who’s not.
Do they know someone who voted for (a) Brexit, (b) Trump, or (c) the AfD?
This is a freebie because we all have families and family members we no longer talk to. If they say “no” they’re obviously lying and have already failed.
Do they believe the reason was because of (a) sovereignty, (b) jobs, or (c) the euro?
This one depends. Do they believe this because they know the other person wasn’t smart enough to realize that it was all lies? Or are they too polite to call that person out on their bullshit?
Do they secretly agree it was because of (a) immigrants, (b) immigrants, or (c) immigrants?
This one is clear, no? They’re the worst kind of “not funny enough” person. The kind you think is on your side until they say “Refugees Welcome, but…” The kind who could recite all of Martin Niemöller’s “First they came…” and never reach the end because no one is ever coming for them and they’re really looking forward to the trains running on time again.
Flint, Michigan still doesn’t have clean water.
And Puerto Rico still doesn’t have power.
Real allies know this.
Don’t kill the messenger.