Who is michelle wolf and why are republicans angry at her

It’s difficult to read about Saturday’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner without seeing the name Michelle Wolf. The comedian delivered the opening monologue at the event, a yearly dinner to bring together political journalists and — ideally — the president. (Trump decided once again not to attend.)

Like previous hosts Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers, Wolf opened by roasting major players in Washington. But her comments on the White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, who attended in place of Trump, quickly landed her in hot water. “I actually really like Sarah. I think she’s very resourceful,” Wolf said about Sanders. “But she burns facts and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smoky eye.


Like maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s lies. It’s probably lies.”

In the aftermath, far-right leaders — and some independent journalists — took to Twitter to express outrage. One of them was Maggie Haberman, the White House correspondent for the New York Times and a political analyst for CNN, who considered the dig to be a superficial attack on Sanders’s appearance.

The statement drew ire from many journalists, who called it an “ embarrassment” and “ performative rubbish.” But as the think pieces continue to roll in about Wolf’s monologue, some have begun joking about how little we actually know about the comedian herself. So, in the midst of the Twitter storm, here is some background to get you familiar with the comedian at the center of it.

Wolf, 32, spent her childhood years in Hershey, the Pennsylvania town famous as the birthplace of the iconic chocolate bar. With two older brothers, she grew up running track, a sport she excelled at in high school. She later attended the College of William and Mary, where she ran track and studied kinesiology. But her running career was cut short while there because of an injury.

In an interview with the Comics Comic, Wolf said her family didn’t grow up with a lot of money and that making enough to support herself was one of the things that prompted her to move to New York. Her first job in the city was at the investment bank Bear Stearns, where she worked for a few years before getting hired at J.P. Morgan.

While working in finance, Wolf had little free time. But in an interview with Splitsider in 2014, the then-29-year-old said it was after going to a live-taping of SNL with her friend in 2008 that convinced her to try out the comedy world. “ I Googled everyone on the cast, and most of them started in improv, so I was like, ‘All right, I’ll sign up for an improv class,’” said Wolf. “Then after my first improv class, I was like, ‘This is the best thing in the world. I love this.’”

In July 2014, Wolf — who had then been doing standup for four years — appeared on Seth Meyers’s late-night show, where she discussed solo vacations, obesity in America, and man-repelling tattoos. She appeared on the show again later that year and was ultimately hired to write for it full time. Wolf sporadically appeared on the show during her two years writing there, including with a character called “ Grown-Up Annie” — an older iteration of Little Orphan Annie.

After two years at Late Night With Seth Meyers, Wolf was tapped to be an on-air contributor and writer for The Daily Show With Trevor Noah. In November of 2016, she appeared on the show in a segment discussing Donald Trump’s election to the presidency. “How did this happen? Experienced politician versus racist, fake gynecologist,” she said. “It’s not even about not voting for Hillary. It’s about people voting for Donald Trump — the worst thing to happen to women since yeast!”

Once she became an established name in the comedy world, Wolf inked a deal with HBO for her own comedy special, which was taped at New York University’s Skirball Center for Performing Arts. The special, titled Michelle Wolf, Nice Lady, was released on Dec. 2, 2017.

The 32-year-old gave several interviews before Saturday night’s dinner, expressing both excitement and nervousness about the gig. In one interview with GQ, she more or less foreshadowed the criticism she now faces, saying that — given she was making jokes about people in attendance — that they might not “play well in the room.” A week before the dinner, she appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live, where she dared him to come. “I’ll give you five dollars if you come,” she joked.

Although the controversy surrounding Wolf’s performance is likely to die down, her comedy career is set to keep taking off. For months, Wolf has been working on a new show she will host on Netflix titled The Break. A weekly half-hour show, it will be a mix of celebrities, jokes, and sketches, aimed at having a less serious focus on the news than many current late-night shows. The trailer fittingly debuted Saturday morning, and the show is set to air May 27.