Donald Trump

Michelle Wolf Ready to Roast Trump at White House Correspondents' Association Dinner

Comedian Michelle Wolf is poised mock the in-absentia president Saturday at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner – making her own mark as she becomes the latest “Daily Show” alum to tackle the job.

The night after Donald Trump's election as president, then-"Daily Show" contributor Michelle Wolf called out women who voted for him over Hillary Clinton.

"Women can be misogynists, too, just proving that women can do anything that men can do – except be president!" Wolf declared in her trademark high-pitched voice.

Wolf is out to prove something herself Saturday when she hosts the White House Correspondents' Association dinner. She'll become the third "Daily Show" alum in a row to tackle the role, the fourth overall – and the first woman from the Comedy Central late night stalwart, which debuted in 1996 when "fake news" sported a different connotation.

President Trump, meanwhile, is expected to be a no-show for a second year at the annual dinner where a comedian traditionally roasts the sitting chief executive who gets a chance to fire back. Whether the president is present, of course, changes the dynamic of the event – and the attention paid to it.

Still, the specter of Trump – and ghosts of dinners past, some with ties to Wolf – bode to loom as she takes perhaps her biggest stage yet.

In 2006, former "Daily Show" correspondent Stephen Colbert gave then-President George W. Bush an in-person skewering. ("I stand by this man, because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things, things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares," Colbert said.)

Five years later, then-President Barack Obama and host Seth Meyers, who hired Wolf as a "Late Night" writer, both insulted Trump as he fumed from the audience. Some armchair shrinks among us believe the mocking spurred Trump's unlikely presidential bid. (“Donald Trump often appears on Fox, which is ironic because a fox often appears on Donald Trump's head,” Meyers observed.)

Former "Daily Show" contributor Larry Wilmore stirred controversy in 2016 by using the N-word to affectionately refer to Obama. Last year, "Daily Show" correspondent Hasan Minhaj called the absent Trump our "liar-in-chief" as former colleague Samantha Bee taped her own "Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner" special.

That all hikes the bar for Wolf, who’s likely hoping the gig will help draw a crowd to her upcoming Netflix series, “The Break,” which follows her November HBO stand-up special, “Nice Lady.”

The special offered a look at an evolving comic talent who delivers takes that start silly (“I’m not like a buy-my-own-drinks kind of feminist”) and quickly end smart (“We’re never gonna have a nice lady run for president”).

Nice ladies – or men – don’t necessarily make great comedians, either. But it’s not Wolf’s job to bridge an increasingly fraught political divide. She arrives Saturday ready to use her unique voice to rise to the occasion.    

Hester is Director of News Products and Projects at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is also the author of "Raising a Beatle Baby: How John, Paul, George and Ringo Helped us Come Together as a Family." Follow him on Twitter. 

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