On Monday evening, late night host Seth Meyers defended Michelle Wolf, pushing back against some of the criticism she has received following her performance at the White House Correspondents' Dinner (WHCD). Some people, including President Trump, condemned Wolf's comedic routine at the event, accusing her of being mean-spirited. However, on his show, Meyers readily defended Wolf's routine, characterizing Wolf's supposedly mean jokes as both brilliant and brave.
Meyers opened his show by discussing President Trump's tweet about Wolf's performance at the WHCD — a tweet which actually referenced Meyers and his former WHCD hosting duties as well. In his tweet, Trump wrote:
The White House Correspondents’ Dinner was a failure last year, but this year was an embarrassment to everyone associated with it. The filthy 'comedian' totally bombed (couldn’t even deliver her lines-much like the Seth Meyers weak performance). Put Dinner to rest, or start over!
In response, Meyers commented, "Oh good, it's always nice when the eye of Sauron [the antagonist from Lord of the Rings] is upon you.” Meyers also jokingly added, "First of all, thank you for bringing it [the WHCD] up. It was one of the best nights of my life and I would personally bring it up all the time, but it would look tacky."
Meyers then moved on to defending Wolf, using jokes to convey his support for the comedian, who used to work for him as a writer and performer. Meyers readily emphasized his support for Wolf by asserting that he agrees that she is "filthy" and "mean" saying,
Now, Michelle Wolf doesn’t need anyone to defend her ... But she is our friend. So just know, when you call her filthy, you are right. She is filthy. And she is mean, which is what we love about her. Because those are wonderful qualities for comedians and terrible qualities for free world leaders ...
Meyers proceeded to play a clip of Williams portraying a grown-up orphan Annie character on his show. Meyers laughed after watching the clip, chuckling as he commented, "That was about Annie, an orphan! If you ask me, Sarah Huckabee Sanders got off easy."
The late night host went on to discuss the ironic nature of the White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) appearing to withdraw its support for Wolf after heavily praising her when initially announcing that she would be the featured comedian at the event. Meyers read a statement from the WHCA's president, Margaret Talev, in which Talev heavily praised Wolf's knack for "strong, independent journalism" and her "truth-to-power style."
Meyers then noted that it was particularly ironic that Talev then proceeded to release a statement the day after the the WHCD condemning Michelle's performance and characterizing it as one that "was not in the spirit of [the] mission" of showing a commitment to a free press while "honoring civility." The host appeared aghast at Talev's critical statement, saying "You hired her! That's like a parent sending an email saying yesterday's birthday was meant to celebrate Kevin turning six years old. Unfortunately, the stripper's dance routine was not in the spirit of the party."
The comedian wrapped up his segment by pointing out that the White House Correspondent's Association is supposed to advocate for free speech, yet seems to be criticizing Wolf for exercising that right. As Meyers put it, “Look, the whole point of your dinner is to supposedly celebrate the First Amendment ... And Michelle Wolf, ... she uses every part of the First Amendment."
Meyers is not the only late night host to come to Wolf's defense following the dinner. As The Hollywood Reporter noted, Trevor Noah and Stephen Colbert also offered their support for Wolf in their respective monologues.
Thus, while some have critiqued Wolf's WHCD performance, it is pretty clear that late night hosts — and many others — have her back. And that they want her to continue being "mean" to ensure that those in power are held accountable for their actions.