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'I wouldn't change a single word': Michelle Wolf stands by WH Correspondents' Dinner speech despite backlash

Taryn Ryder
Writer, Yahoo Entertainment

While President Trump has given her jokes a thumbs-down, and her hosts at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner have distanced themselves from her controversial set, Michelle Wolf says, “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,” Wolf tells NPR. However, the comedian admits she’s surprised at the level of controversy over her performance.

“I wasn’t expecting this level, but I’m also not disappointed there’s this level. I knew what I was doing going in,” she explains. “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.’”

She adds, “If you’ve seen any of my comedy you know that … 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 dismisses the interpretation that she made fun of Sarah Sanders’s appearance. “I think they didn’t pay attention to what was said,” she says. “I mean, if there is two people that I actually made fun of their looks on Saturday it was Mitch McConnell and Chris Christie and no one is jumping to their defense. I made fun of Mitch McConnell’s neck and I did a small jab at Chris Christie’s weight and no one is jumping to their defense.”

Despite the backlash, Wolf has plenty of allies following her performance Saturday night that ruffled feathers from the right to the left.

Michelle Wolf, Kathy Griffin, and Jimmy Kimmel. (Photos: Getty Images)

Trump skipped the event for the second year in a row, which Wolf, a Daily Show writer, pointed out. “I would drag him here myself, but it turns out the president of the United States is the one pussy you’re not allowed to grab. He said it first,” she declared. “Yeah, he did.”

The president took to Twitter to rip Wolf and the dinner, calling it “a very big, boring bust” and that the “so-called comedian really ‘bombed.'” Although Trump wouldn’t actually name Wolf, he made his feelings about her and the event clear.

The 20-minute routine has even been condemned by the White House Correspondents’ Association. In a letter to its members, president Margaret Talev exclaimed: “Last night’s program was meant to offer a unifying message about our common commitment to a vigorous and free press while honoring civility, great reporting and scholarship winners, not to divide people. Unfortunately, the entertainer’s monologue was not in the spirit of the mission.”

On Monday, Wolf seemed to respond to one particular line of the statement.

The Break host has many of her peers in her corner. Kathy Griffin, who knows a thing or two about politically charged comedy scandals, offered her support to Wolf in a lengthy Twitter thread.

“For the record, I was in the room last night. @michelleisawolf’s set was great. She was hilarious and confident,” Griffin writes. “First, @michelleisawolf took no prisoners last night. She roasted Trump, Pence, White House staffers, the media, media personalities. Everyone is focused on Sanders but that was only 1 1/2 minutes of Michelle’s act. She went after everyone…as it should be.”

Griffin adds: “A comic’s job is to go over the line and then push the line and go over it again. Great comics aren’t supposed to be safe or careful. That would mean we’re not doing our job. By pushing the line we force people to think differently, to ask questions, and disrupt the status quo.”

Jimmy Kimmel and Sarah Silverman agree.

Wolf also got support from many in Hollywood.

Chrissy Teigen agreed with Lynch, writing: “after everything this administration has said and done to the American people with no apology? are you f****** kidding me???? this has to be a joke.”

All in all, Wolf seems to be taking this in stride.

[Editor’s note: This post was originally published April 30, 2018 at 1:10 p.m. ET.]

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