After drawing criticism for her comments about Sarah Huckabee Sanders at Saturday’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner, comedian Michelle Wolf was defended by late-night hosts on their programs Monday night.
On Late Night With Seth Meyers, the NBC host — who has hosted the Correspondents’ Dinner himself, with Donald Trump in attendance — noted the president’s tweets saying Wolf “bombed,” that she was “filthy” and calling out Meyers for his performance at the dinner years before. “It’s always good when the eye of Sauron is on you,” Meyers quipped.
Speaking on Wolf, who worked for Meyers’ show, the host said, “When you call her filthy, you are right. She is filthy and she is mean, which is what we love about her because those are wonderful qualities for a comedian and terrible qualities for free world leaders.”
Among the jokes about Sanders that Wolf received criticism for were comments such as, “Every time Sarah steps up to the podium, I get excited because I’m not sure what we’re going to get: a press briefing, a bunch of lies or divided into softball teams,” and “She burns facts then uses that ash to create the perfect smoky eye.” Both were considered jabs at the White House press secretary’s appearance.
Plugging Wolf’s upcoming Netflix show, Meyers promised the comedian wouldn’t “waste any time trying to decide when it is or isn’t proper to make fun of people in power who lie to us on a daily basis.”
Before coming to Wolf’s defense, The Late Late Show‘s James Corden also took aim at Trump’s tweets, particularly the one in which he declared the annual dinner “dead.”
“Saying it’s dead is what everyone does when they don’t go to something,” Corden said. “I’ve been saying Coachella’s dead for the past 10 years.”
The CBS host called Wolf “brilliant,” and pointed out that during the dinner, she mocked journalists and politicians. “So you can see why Trump was upset,” Corden said. “She’s stealing his act.”
Jimmy Fallon took a similar approach. “Some people got upset at the dinner when comedian Michelle Wolf made fun of members of the Trump administration. The president was furious. He was like, ‘Nobody makes a mockery of my staff except me. That’s where I draw the line,'” The Tonight Show host said in his best-Trump voice.
Over on the Daily Show, on which Wolf appeared as a correspondent until last December, Trevor Noah noted, “Michelle roasted these people so hard that they wanted police protection.”
When it came to Wolf’s comments on Sanders, Noah said, “It’s not funny because Michelle should have had the decency to not comment on women’s appearances in any way, shape or form. She’s a comedian for God’s sake, not the president.”
Noah then showed off a series of clips highlighting crude comments made by Trump about women. “Joking is no excuse if a comedian is insulting the president. It’s only an excuse when the insults are coming from the president,” Noah said.
On Comedy Central’s The Opposition, host Jordan Klepper noted that Wolf “violated traditions and norms” by telling jokes. “I don’t even know what she was thinking,” Klepper said. “You don’t speak truth to power — that’s bullying. You tell power how good it looks, and you move on.”
Earlier Monday, Wolf expressed no regrets over her act. “I wouldn’t change a single word that I said,” she told NPR in an interview that will air Tuesday. “I’m very happy with what I said, and I’m glad I stuck to my guns.”
On CBS, Late Show host Stephen Colbert started off his show Monday by addressing Wolf’s performance Saturday. “She did not pull any punches and some people were offended…presumably those people who have been in a coma for the last 18 months.”
Colbert addressed Wolf’s comments on Sanders “smokey eye” makeup by showing a picture of Sanders and her father, Mike Huckabee, both with heavy eye makeup on.
“Look, you didn’t like it, you have that right. Don’t invite her back again, but grow a pair. This was a roast…being mad at her for doing her job is like being mad at the valet for briefly stealing your car.”
Colbert, who hosted a Correspondents’ Dinner of his own in 2006, said he did so in character as “Stephen Colbert,” his alter ego from his days on Comedy Central’s Colbert Report. The host then launched into character to chastise Wolf, saying, “How dare you besmirch the OK name of Sarah Huckabee Sanders.”