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Late-night comics rally around Michelle Wolf as she says she has no regrets

Seth Meyers and Trevor Noah came to her defense, and Stephen Colbert resurrected his right-wing alter ego to take aim at her detractors.
by Daniel Arkin /  / Updated 

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It seems that the late-night comedy circuit is not unlike the NATO alliance: An attack on one is an attack on all.

Talk show hosts came to the defense of comedian Michelle Wolf on Monday night amid a firestorm over her scathing routine at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner this weekend.

Wolf, who used to work on both Seth Meyers' "Late Night" and Trevor Noah's "The Daily Show," has always been unapologetically profane, Meyers said — and that is exactly why he stands by her.

"When you call [Wolf] filthy, you're right! She is filthy," Meyers said, referring to a tweet from President Trump. "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."

NBC's Meyers, who famously roasted Donald Trump at the dinner in 2011, also took issue with the press association, which released a statement blasting Wolf's monologue as "not in the spirit" of the event.

"You hired her! That's like a parent sending an email saying, 'Yesterday's birthday was meant to celebrate Kevin turning 6 years old. Unfortunately, the stripper's dance routine was not in the spirit of the party.'"

Noah, on Comedy Central, feigned outrage over some of Wolf's more controversial one-liners — including a gag about White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders' eye shadow.

"Michelle should have had the decency not to comment on women's appearances in any way, shape or form," Noah said. "She's a comedian, for God's sake — not the president."

Over on CBS, Stephen Colbert reminded his audience that he once drew criticism with an acerbic monologue about former President George W. Bush at the 2006 dinner. Colbert then resurrected "Stephen Colbert," the bombastic right-wing pundit character he played for nearly a decade on "The Colbert Report."

"How dare you besmirch the OK name of Sarah Huckabee Sanders? I am so proud, right down to the breastbone, that the press is defending her despite the fact that her boss joked about throwing reporters in jail," Colbert said in the voice of his pompous alter ego. "That's the kind of comedy the press likes!"

"Late Late Show" host James Corden, who goes on after Colbert, quipped that Wolf "mocked journalists and politicians, so you can see why Trump was upset — she's stealing his act!"

Wolf, for her part, said she has absolutely no regrets about her performance.

"I wouldn't change a single word that I said," Wolf told NPR's Terry Gross on Monday in an interview that airs in full Tuesday afternoon. "I'm very happy with what I said, and I'm glad I stuck to my guns."

And even outside the late-night crowd, entertainers praised Wolf's performance. Kathy Griffin and Dave Chappelle — both known for courting controversy in their own routines — said she "nailed it."

“I don’t know who those people think they are that she can’t say that to them, because they offend people all the time," Chappelle told PBS this week. "And I think that for many people ... it’s cathartic to watch that woman speak truth to power like that."

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