Michael Wenye Li / Sun Photography Editor

Michelle Wolf discussed large issues such as immigration and gender equality at Bailey Hall on Saturday.

September 4, 2018

Michelle Wolf Addresses Women’s Rights, Immigration at Bailey Hall Lecture

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Students and members of the community filed into Bailey Hall for a night of racy humor with comedian Michelle Wolf on Saturday.

Anthony DeVito, a comedian who has appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Comedy Central, opened for Wolf, cracking jokes about his ambiguous ethnicity.

Wolf is a former contributor for The Daily Show and star of the Netflix series The Break with Michelle Wolf. The Cornell University Program Board, which sponsored the event, has previously booked comedians with The Daily Show-experience, including Trevor Noah last year and Stephen Colbert in 2007, and felt that Wolf would be a good fit.

“Comedians like Michelle can get very famous very quickly — and we wanted to strike while the iron was hot, essentially,” said Daniela Manzano ’19, CUPB executive chair, in an email to The Sun.

Wolf’s routine mostly avoided mention of specific political figures and instead dealt with larger issues, including abortion, immigration and gender equality.

Speaking from her own experience with getting an abortion, Wolf discussed birth and women’s bodies. She also compared men and women, joking that women are “better at being human” than men.

Wolf is known for her performance as the featured entertainer of the 2018 White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

Controversies emerged over Wolf’s remarks at the Dinner, particularly for her comments on White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Ivanka Trump and President Donald J. Trump’s personal counselor Kellyanne Conway, according to The New York Times. The Times reported that Wolf labeled Sanders “an Uncle Tom but for white women who disappoint other white women,” called Ivanka Trump “as helpful to women as an empty box of tampons” and joked about a tree falling on Conway.

Lolia Briggs ’19, CUPB promotion chair, said Wolf “stuck out” to the board because of “what she did at the Correspondents’ Dinner.”

“We do try to get diverse names that people will be interested in,” Briggs said. “We try to get people who we know will fill a house and be a good conversation for the campus to have.”

Anekha Goyal ’21, who attended the event with her friends, described Wolf as “incredible.”

“[Wolf] kept saying we just wanted to have a fun time tonight, and that made sure she was able to talk about certain topics that other comedians wouldn’t broach,” she said.

Abby Lerner ’21 said she liked that Wolf spoke about “divisive issues” while still managing to “make it funny and inclusive.”

“I think that no matter what your political leaning is, it’s definitely something everyone can enjoy,” said Christina Lu ’21.