Michelle Wolf Steers Clear of Politics at Lincoln Center Benefit
Wolf, whose controversial performance at the White House Correspondents' Dinner garnered headlines, performed at a Lincoln Center benefit with fellow comedians Michael Che and Demetri Martin and singer/actress Patina Miller.
Michelle Wolf kept away from politics during her short set at Stand Up & Sing for the Arts, a benefit for the Lincoln Center Corporate Fund held at Alice Tully Hall on Tuesday night. The event sponsored by Netflix featured appearances by comedians Wolf, Saturday Night Live's Michael Che and Demetri Martin, as well as a musical performance by Patina Miller (Madam Secretary).
Wolf's controversial appearance at the recent White House Correspondents' Dinner did not go unreferenced. In his introduction to the evening, David Kramer, co-president of United Talent Agency, commented in deadpan fashion, "I hear she's beloved in Washington, D.C., these days." He also pointed out that the lineup of comedians, all of who were making their debuts at the venue, "might not be traditional Lincoln Center fare."
Wolf didn't acknowledge her recent foray into the political minefield, instead delivering more typical material mainly centering on such issues as feminism, body positivity and sexuality. As usual, her humor was blunt and to the point.
"If you have a small penis, you should kill yourself," Wolf advised the men in the audience. Responding to the mixture of gasps and laughter, she coyly added, "It's an honor killing, it's good."
Acknowledging that he was hardly dressed for the occasion in Nike workout pants, Che did address the fractured state of our country. "I'm not very smart, but I get to do the news on TV," he joked, asking, "Remember when we used to make fun of other countries' leaders? Like, two years ago?" Commenting about the late Toronto mayor Rob Ford, he pointed out, "At least he had crack as an excuse. Our guy does this stuff sober."
"Did anyone here vote for Donald Trump?" Che asked the well-heeled Manhattan crowd, cracking up when someone shouted back, "Hell, no!"
Martin immediately made it clear that he would not be wading into politics. "I don't have anything to say about the world," the boyish comedian declared. "Consider me a distraction." His set featured much more observational humor, especially about language, dissecting such expressions as "tossing and turning," "spinning in his grave" and "the roof of my mouth." He also lightly strummed an acoustic guitar while delivering a series of absurdist, non sequitur one-liners on the order of, "I can move objects with my mind if I use my hands" and "One place I would not want to be chased is Kenya."
Miller, accompanied by a four-piece band, fulfilled the musical portion of the event's punning title. Starting the show with "Magic to Do," the opening number from Pippin, the musical for which she won a Tony Award, Miller sang several songs throughout the evening. She displayed her stylistic range by performing songs from a variety of genres and brought the house down with a dynamic rendition of Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know." She also received nearly as many laughs as the comedians on the bill with a hilariously profane number perfectly designed for these #MeToo times. The song lambasting men for their behavior toward women pulled no punches lyrically: "Don't show me your taint/ Attractive it ain't," Miller sang with a smile.
John Amato, president of Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter Media Group, co-chaired the event.