Shortly after her highly publicized appearance at The White House Correspondent’s Dinner, Michelle Wolf’s show “The Break” premiered on Netflix. Wolf promised not to hold back in the show, perhaps hoping to keep the new social justice warrior fans she acquired after lobbing childish insults at Sarah Huckabee Sanders at the dinner. She also made a point of saying she would not support all women as a feminist — she would “stand up” to those she disagreed with. It quickly became clear that “stand up to” meant to savagely insult.
Wolf ardently dismissed the idea of civility toward conservatives in a recent episode, and suggested that comedian Samantha Bee’s recent insult of Ivanka Trump wasn’t hurtful enough, and that those she disagreed with deserved to be insulted to a “life-altering” degree. Her suggestions included calling Ivanka “Vaginal Mesh,” “Herpes,” and the “prettiest tumor in a swiftly moving cancer.” On Bee’s “Full Frontal,” only one heinous insult was used — “Feckless C–t,” for which she apologized.
“The Break” might offer a shred of entertainment value for those who agree with Wolf’s shallow take on politics, or who are fans of cringeworthy insult comedy — but even for hard line liberals who get a kick out of smearing dirt in the faces of their political opponents, it really is no laugh riot. Wolf begins the show with a tediously long stand-up set, then heads to a desk to regurgitate already-tired news stories that have been treaded over by every late night comic in the business.
Apparently unsatisfied with euthanizing the spirit of comedy bullying women whom she disagrees with, Wolf takes aim at free speech in another recent episode. In one of her heroically unfunny sketches, Wolf appears as a hopeful journalist with an opinion piece on the verge of publication at The New York Times. She meets with Edmund Oppenheimer III, or “Op Ed” who is an apparent Trumpian hybrid of Mr. Magoo and Rumpelstiltskin. They start singing about some recently published op-eds from The Times and The Washington Post, and a few others they made up. Wolf goes after writer Bari Weiss most aggressively, implying Weiss had written a piece about how “Pizzagate was great!”
Wolf insinuates the Times opinion editor is only mining for clicks in their selection of opinion pieces, with no concern for integrity. “These are bad opinions!” The comedian exclaims, accusing Weiss of using a “hot take” no matter how “batshit” that take may be. The point of the sketch, it seemed, was that any publication of an opinion not shared by Michelle Wolf is crazy and unfounded, and therefore bad journalism.
Here’s a hot take: “The Break” is a boring, unoriginal waste of thirty minutes, and Michelle Wolf is a hack comedian who depends on base level insults and her shrill voice to get applause from a confused audience. She’s loud! She’s mean! She doesn’t care what people think! Wahoo!
Wolf’s unlikely rise to fame is due almost entirely to her unofficial status of as “Queen of the Angry Mob” bestowed upon her after her performance at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner, where she cruelly punched below the belt at Sarah Sanders, calling her a liar, and comparing her to domineering and complicit Aunt Lydia on “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
Her Netflix show, “The Break” is praised for its “wickedness” and “viciousness” — adjectives that do not describe comedy, but a woman cruelly insulting anyone who is currently being villainized by the mainstream media. She seems to have no regard for the comedic structure of her jokes, makes no attempt at humor that might appeal to anyone with a differing opinion, and goes for the grossest, meanest insult her writers can muster, all for the entertainment of a sliver of the population that finds her funny. Triumph the Insult Comic Dog might not have been everyone’s cup of tea, but at least he never called anyone “Vaginal Mesh” in the name of social justice.
Any opinion not aligned with her own should apparently be considered a “bad opinion,” or a crazy one. This is the entire basis for her television show. Wolf gives her opinion, for which she offers no qualification for having, savagely mocks people who disagree with her, and delivers exactly zero laughs. Certainly, she must believe in the importance and value of living in a country where she is free to speak her mind, but she fails to see the value in letting anyone else speak theirs without facing the juvenile backlash she has prepared for them.
Michelle Obama famously encouraged her and her husband’s supporters to “go high” when “they go low” at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Wolf clearly didn’t take that message to heart before deadheading to the lowest road possible and never looking back. This is her only approach to comedy — loudness and bullying.
Wolf is hardly alone in this nonsensical approach to using fame to besmirch the president. It seems that each day a different celebrity has used their substantial reach to condemn Trump, his allies, and anyone who might have a differing opinion than their own. Whether it’s De Niro screaming “F–k Trump!” at The Tony’s, or Samantha Bee calling Ivanka a “Feckless c–t,” or Peter Fonda calling on angry mobs to kidnap the President’s son, the unhinged, “rage only” approach to political discourse is not only baffling and upsetting, but also highly ineffective. There is no gain to ranting against Trump and his supporters, only a loss of people who are tired of listening to comedians and actors say awful things about other people.
Wolf, who’s show offers no unique take from the multitude of left-leaning political “comedy” shows, simply doesn’t have the talent or appeal for the position of influence she has found herself in. Her comedy routine at dinner was so poorly received, that it is unlikely there will be a comedian at next year’s gathering.
What has become abundantly clear, is that insulting those you disagree with for the sole purpose of getting people to clap for you is a fleeting moment of victory, often accompanied by adverse consequences. This is a lesson that seems impossible for rage leaders like Wolf to learn. Broadcasting to such a deeply divided nation could serve as an incredible opportunity to find common ground, or at least to try to write funny jokes, rather than suggest free speech be curtailed because you disagree with it.