All About Michelle Wolf, the Comic Who Rocked Washington with Jokes About Trump Officials' Lies
Michelle Wolf, who has a Wall Street background, has worked on Late Night with Seth Meyers and The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
Two days after she lambasted the Trump administration, Michelle Wolf continues to dominate headlines.
The comedian has found herself at the center of controversy over her roast at Saturday night’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner — particularly in regards to her jokes about White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who was present at the dinner.
While many have praised Wolf for the set, some conservatives and journalists have criticized her for what they perceived as attacks on Sanders’ appearance after the comic quipped that Sanders was “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.”
Wolf fired back on Twitter, arguing that her jokes were about Sanders’ “despicable behavior.”
“Why are you guys making this about Sarah’s looks?” she wrote. “I said she burns facts and uses the ash to create a *perfect* smoky eye. I complimented her eye makeup and her ingenuity of materials.”
So who is Wolf? Here’s everything you need to know about the comedian.
She has a Wall Street background.
Wolf grew up in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and studied kinesiology at the College of William & Mary. After graduating, she landed a job in private client services at Bear Stearns in 2007, followed by a stint at JP Morgan.
“I was either going to get my Ph.D or go to medical school, but I was kind of burned out after school,” she told TheWrap in 2016. “My roommates had all gotten jobs on Wall Street, so they were like, ‘Come work with us on Wall Street! We’ll all live in New York for a couple of years.’ ”
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Though she didn’t love the career, it did allow her to dip her toes into the comedy world.
“It was good money and my schedule wasn’t so crazy that I couldn’t do comedy,” she told Splitsider in 2014. “Because I didn’t start comedy until after I started working. I had no intention of doing comedy.”
SNL inspired her to become a comedian.
“I always loved comedy, but in my mind it wasn’t a viable career option,” she told TheWrap. “I always thought, ‘You go to college. You get a job and then you pay off college.’ ”
Things changed after she attended a taping of Saturday Night Live in 2008.
“I’ve always been such a huge fan, and afterwards I was like, ‘I want to do something like this,’ ” she told Splitsider. “So I Googled everyone on the cast and most of them started in improv, so I was like alright, ‘I’ll sign up for an improv class.’ Then after my first improv class I was like, ‘This is the best thing in the world. I love this.’ I just wanted to do something that involved that. Then after a couple years of improv, I eventually started to do standup and then switched over almost completely.”
She has a late-night TV pedigree.
After about four years of performing standup, Wolf landed a job as a writer on the Late Night with Seth Meyers in 2014. She also appeared in segments on the show, often as her fictional persona, “Grown Up Annie.”
After two years at Late Night, Wolf joined the writing staff at The Daily Show with Trevor Noah in 2016.
“This is a show that I grew up watching,” she told TheWrap. “It was on for all of my adult life and most of my life in general. I’ve watched The Daily Show forever. So being a part of it is surreal.”
Her star continued to rise throughout 2017 with the premiere of her successful HBO special, Michelle Wolf: Nice Lady.
Her biggest gig is around the corner.
The Break with Michelle Wolf, a half hour variety/sketch series, debuts on Netflix on May 27. Rather than airing in one block, the show will air new episodes each Sunday.
The streaming service rolled out the first trailer for the host this weekend after the Correspondents’ Dinner.
She’s been a vocal critic of the Trump administration.
Wolf has been biting in her humor about Trump, particularly on The Daily Show. Just after the election, in a bit with Noah, she quipped that Trump’s election was “the worst thing to happen to women since yeast,” describing the election as an “experienced politician against a racist fake gynecologist.”
Prior to the Correspondents’ Dinner, the comedian told Variety she had no intention of toning down her material, even if the president were to attend. (He didn’t.)
“What is the fun in holding back?” she said. “I feel like you are not doing a job as a comedian. If you are willing to say something about someone, you should be willing to say it on Twitter, to their face, whatever. So I think if you want to say something you got to step up and say it.”
That being said, she said she knew the gig has a “tough crowd.”
“I hope they like the jokes and roll with them,” she said. “It is why we are there. We are there to make fun of everybody.”
“There is so much to cover, and I don’t want to drag on,” she added. “Short and sweet is much better, but I kind of want to hit on all the major topics and all the major players, and all the major networks, and print media and all that stuff. Give a couple of good punches everywhere, and then go have a cocktail.”