Michelle Wolf’s Performance

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, and if you are I wouldn’t blame you, you’ve now heard about the White House Correspondents Dinner where Michelle Wolf’s 15-minute set created quite the uproar. Wolf went out there dedicated to her brand of comedy, and no one was off limits. She went after FOX, MSNBC, Reince Priebus, Jake Tapper, Hillary Clinton, Mike Pence, Harvey Weinstein, Ted Kennedy… and herself. She threw in a ton of self deprecating humor. So why are we hearing about what turned out to be maybe one minute and 30 seconds of a set? She was lambasted by pundits, the Press Corps took a step back and of course, she was tweeted about by the President of the United States. Yes, once again our president tweeted about a comedian when you would think he has better things to do, like run the country. A lot of things didn’t sit well with me, but not with Wolf’s set, rather with the backlash from not only the president, but from various reporters, and even David Cicilline.  

However, what Trump said didn’t bother me as much as what another president, Margaret Talev, said. Talev is the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA). The WHCA states on their website: “We share the belief, held by our country’s Founders and enshrined in the First Amendment, that an independent news media is vital to the health of the republic.”  They stand for the first amendment. Talev came out and said that Wolf’s monologue was not in the spirit of their mission. But wasn’t it, really? To live in a country where you can poke fun at government officials, even if they are sitting 5 feet away from you with the smoky eyes of lies on their lids. (And yes, there is a difference between making fun of someone’s looks and someone’s makeup, so stop whining.) We are free in this country to make art, and art sometimes makes us uncomfortable. Art may make you squirm, like Wolf telling the attendees at the dinner that they are profiting off of Trump. Comedy is an art. Writing comedy is an art. Art cannot be defined by how you prefer it. You cannot be for free speech and then tweet that you can’t call a liar a liar, or that comedians shouldn’t make jokes.

And to put things in perspective for you…

The same weekend a comedian called Kellyanne Conway a liar, the President of the United States told a crowd that we have the worst laws anywhere in the world.

The same day a comedian told a crowd of journalists that Flint, Michigan, still didn’t have clean water, an hour’s drive from Flint, the President of the United States stated that we will have crystal clean water.

Free speech covers journalists, citizens and artists. Even comedians.

 

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