USA Today, April 30, 2018

    Hypocrisy is no laughing matter
    Within 10 minutes of Michelle Wolf's 'vulgar' and 'nasty' act, she was already
    being drawn-and-quartered in the Twittersphere. Wait, what about Trump?

    By Bruce Kluger

    So let me get this straight,
    because I must be missing

    Donald J. Trump admits on a
    recording that he freely grabs
    women “by the p---y” and gets
    elected president of the United
    States; but comedian Michelle
    Wolf cracks a joke in front of the
    formal-wear crowd at the White
    House Correspondents’ Dinner
    using practically tthe same
    words—and gets raked across
    the coals for being “vulgar,” “mean-spirited,” and “downright nasty” (that last rebuke
    courtesy of the Washington Post’s Paul Farhi, who evidently wrote it from his
    fainting couch).

    Welcome to the United States of Hypocrisy.

    Those who tuned in to the event on Saturday night know that it lived up to its
    increasingly farcical format: award presentations for journalists (good); rubber-
    chicken speeches about freedom of the press (snore); scholarships for young
    journalists (good) and 25 minutes of stand-up from a celebrity charged with
    squeezing laughs from a roomful of mannequins (good luck).

    This year, Wolfa 32-year-old former-Wall Street grunt-turned-comedian, who just
    landed her own Netflix showdrew the short straw as the latest masochist to
    willingly step into that searing spotlight. And she didn't disappoint: Within 10
    minutes of the conclusion of her often funny, sometimes cringe-worthy, consistently
    profane set, she was already being drawn-and-quartered in the Twittersphere.

    “Michelle Wolf is about as funny as stomach cancer,” blasted conservative gasbag
    Ben Shapiro (whose word-choice proves that he, too, might want to brush up on his
    comedic delivery).

    But let’s face it: Wolf was never going to walk away from this dreaded gig in one
    piece. Formerly a showcase for safe, mainstream comics like Bob Hope, Rich Little
    and Jay Leno, the comedy spot at the annual gathering of politicos has been, in
    recent years, a show-biz hot potato, frantically tossed among edgy, up-and-coming
    comics who are willing to risk a little post-event tar-and-feathering in return for the
    coast-to-coast exposure.

    In 2015, stand-up Cecily Strong used her time slot to remark on race relations in
    America (to former president Obama: “Your hair is so white, now it can talk back to
    the police”); and the following year, Comedy Central’s Larry Wilmore, who is black,
    took it up a giant notch by calling Obama the n-wordto his faceand paying for it
    dearly the following morning.

    But 2018 marks the first Correspondents’ Dinner of the #MeToo era, and Wolfa
    genuinely funny woman who has successfully emerged in a boys-club profession
    fittingly unloaded a fussilade of cover-your-groin zingers.

    On being female: “It’s 2018 and I’m a woman, so you cannot shut me up. Unless
    you have Michael Cohen wire me $130,000.”

    On Ivanka Trump: “She’s done nothing to satisfy women. So, I guess like father, like

    On vice president Mike Pence: “Mike Pence is what happens when Anderson
    Cooper isn't gay.”

    On press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (who was sitting not three feet from
    her): “She burns facts and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smokey eye.”

    And in a show of equal-opportunity bashing, she took on the entire American
    mediaincluding CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and newspapers like USA Today: “I’m
    not going to go after print media tonight because it’s illegal to attack an
    endangered species.”

    The best gut-punches of the evening, of course, were reserved for President
    Trump, virtually none of which can be reprinted here (though she did open her set
    by saying, “Like a porn star says when she’s about to have sex with a Trump, let’s
    get this over with”). Fortunately for Trump, he didn't have to sit through the roast
    with forced, courteous smiles the way predecessors Barack Obama and George W.
    Bush did. That’s because he skipped the event for a second year in a row,
    choosing instead to attend a rally of his faithful in Michigan.

    That didn't stop him, however, from declaring Wolf’s performance a bomb the
    following morning, joining a hyperventilating chorus of tut-tutters who deemed the
    comedian’s performance an “attack.”

    And that’s where I start to burn up.

    Just hours before Wolf took the stage, Trump eviscerated Sen. Jon Tester, D-
    Mont., in front of the foam-mouthed crowd in Michigan, blaming Tester for the crash-
    and-burn nomination of White House physician Ronny Jackson to run the
    Department of Veterans Affairs.

    “I know things about Tester that I could say,” the president threatened, “and if I said
    them, he’d never be elected again.”

    Now, seriously, what’s more obscene to you: a sitting president abusing the
    authority of his high office by trash-talking a sitting Senator, or a sharp-tongued
    comedian waking up a comatose crowd with a couple of dirty jokes?

    But the hypocrisy didn't stop there. Trump was joined in his faux-umbrage by a mob
    of equally phony pearl-clutchers, one more inexcusable than the next.

    ► New York Times reporter Maggie Habermanwho, not one week earlier, the
    president called “a Crooked H flunkie” in a Tweetrushed to defend Huckabee
    Sanders for having to stoically endure Wolf’s rim shots. Can you say butt-smooch?

    ► Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer called the evening a
    “disgrace,” a word that arguably defines his own lie-choked tenure as White House
    mouthpiece (a tumultuous gig that barely out-lasted the shelf-life of a jar of

    ► And MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinsky unleashed a series of tweets to suggest that
    there's no room for off-color commentary in these “serious times.” Is Brzezinsky
    earnestly concerned about our nation’s moral salvation, or was she just smarting
    from Wolf’s observation that her engagement to her Morning Joe co-host Joe
    Scarborough was “like when a #MeToo works out.”

    Lookthis is America, and among the many liberties granted to us by our
    Constitution is the right to think a comedian sucks. And we’re allowed to say that.
    But let’s get off our high horses, shall we?

    Or, as the legendary George Carlin once said, “It’s a comedy show. Lighten the
    fuck up.”

    (Photo: Tasos Katopodis, Getty Images for Netflix)