There’s healthy controversy surrounding Michelle Wolf at the White House Press Correspondents’ dinner. Did she go too far? Is the Fox headline true that she bombed because of cheap jokes about appearances and petty personal attacks?
As a public comedic service, and in the spirit of explaining jokes until they are no longer funny, here is a breakdown of the main controversy – four jokes made about Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
1. “We are graced with Sarah’s presence tonight. I gotta say, I’m a little starstruck. I love you as Aunt Lydia in the Handmaiden’s Tale.”
(This joke, while a physical comparison, is in no way negative. She simply connects that SHS looks like an actor from a show. The humor is that the show is about a women-controlling dystopia many have related to the administration’s tone.)
2. “Every time Sara steps up the podeum, I get excited because I’m not really sure what we’re gonna get – a press briefing, a bunch of lies, or dividied into softball teams. ‘It’s shirts vs skins, and this time don’t be such a little bitch Jim Acosta!'”
(This joke compares SHS to a common character, the tough coach. It is a valid comparison watching SHS’ no-nonsense style at press briefings.)
3. “I actually really like Sarah, I think she’s very resourceful. She burns facts, and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smoky eye. Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s lies. It’s probably lies.”
(Another joke involving physical appearance, but not disparaging it. Smoky eye is an eye-shadow technique. She is actually complimenting her make-up while calling her a liar – bonus points.)
4. “And I’m never really sure what to call Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Is it Sarah Sanders is it Sarah Huckabee Sanders, is It Cousin Huckabee, is it Auntie Huckabee Sanders…? Like, what’s Uncle Tom but for white women that disappoint other white women? Oh I know, It’s Aunt Coulter.”
(This joke is about holding SHS responsible for the lies and spin she tells, and the damage it has done to women’s causes. This is especially ironic for those criticizing Wolf for “taking down another woman”.)
You can debate if these jokes are funny. You can debate if her grounds for her opinions are valid. You should really debate what comes out of Sarah Huckabee Sander’s mouth.
But you can’t say Michelle Wolf punched down.