White House Correspondents' dinner 2018: Comedy crossing the line?

01 May, 2018, 13:20 | Author: Orlando Hughes
  • Some Republicans and several White House reporters came to Sanders' defense Sunday morning

It's been less than 48 hours since Michelle Wolf said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders burns lies and uses the ash as eye shadow at the White House correspondents' dinner.

Wolf talked about her "smokey eye" look and compared her to "Aunt Lydia"- the homely taskmaster from the dystopian novel-turned-TV show "The Handmaid's Tale".

Wolf said people who have claimed she should have been celebrating the media and not been so "aggressive" have misunderstood her role and what it means to be a comedian.

Wolf, who worked at Bear Stearns before it collapsed in 2008, has developed a sometimes brutal comedic style that's been on display during her stints on "Late Night with Seth Meyers", "The Daily Show" and a recent HBO special.

A blistering critique of press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who was seated just feet away, mocked everything from her truthfulness to her appearance and Southern roots.

As many right-minded journalists agree, the White House Correspondents' Dinner is an embarrassing relic, a conflict-of-interest orgy where journalists who are meant to challenge the powerful hobnob with them instead.

Regarding the level of controversy following her words Wolf added, "I knew what I was doing going in".

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"I like making fun of people when they're there", she said on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" in mid-April. A smaller dinner would be more boring, definitely, but also more in line with journalism's own best vision of itself: as a watchdog, as a safeguard, as an extension of the curiosity of the American people.

"She is to some extent being criticized because we don't expect a woman to be that harsh", Branum said. I didn't want to cater to the room.

Wolf's act, which also included abortion jokes, had some in the audience laughing.

It's quite hard to write about the White House Correspondents Association dinner when you think the worst kind of journalism is about journalists' reaction to a party thrown for journalists to honor journalists (and raise money).

On Monday, Wolf seemed to respond to one particular line of the statement. "I do not. Because just when you think Trump is terrible, you remember Mike Pence", Wolf said.

-"He wants to give teachers guns, and I support that because then they can sell them for things they need like supplies". You know, is it Sarah Sanders? The event, to her, "seems like it's a much more serious environment [than in previous years] and to kind of not go after the big issues and just have a little fun in the room seemed just not as exciting to me".

Wolf focusing largely on those in Trump's orbit was brilliant, Branum said, because those individuals "purport to the dignity of being part of the establishment".


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