The Daily Northwestern

Comedian Michelle Wolf takes on body positivity, white feminism

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Michelle Wolf during her set at Cahn Auditorium. Wolf spoke about feminism and a variety of women’s issues.

Michelle Wolf during her set at Cahn Auditorium. Wolf spoke about feminism and a variety of women’s issues.

Kate Salvidio / Daily Senior Staffer

Kate Salvidio / Daily Senior Staffer

Michelle Wolf during her set at Cahn Auditorium. Wolf spoke about feminism and a variety of women’s issues.

Gaby Alfieri, Reporter

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Comedian Michelle Wolf left her crowd in laughter and shock on Tuesday, providing her take on issues ranging from the size of Lake Michigan to gender inequality.

For their fall speaker series, A&O Productions hosted Wolf on Tuesday evening. With over 500 students claiming tickets, the free event nearly filled the lower level of Cahn Auditorium.

Wolf made headlines earlier this year for her controversial speech at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, in which she criticized President Donald Trump and his administration. In the months following, Wolf, who got her start on “Late Night with Seth Meyers” and “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah,” has seen a surge in success. This summer, Netflix aired a weekly topical series, “The Break with Michelle Wolf.”

Isabella Soto, A&O co-chair and Medill senior, explained that Wolf’s recent controversy made her an interesting speaker to bring to campus. Wolf’s comedic style and outspokenness also appealed to the A&O selection committee.

“Because of what happened at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner and a lot of the conversations that were happening after, and because of the the fact that she’s a woman who uses her experiences in her comedy, we felt she would be very refreshing,” said Soto, a former Daily columnist.

Beginning her set with jokes about Lake Michigan, Wolf later delved into more serious topics like abortion. And she was quick to address audience members who might have taken issue with jokes about the subject.

“This is going to be an abortion joke. Put on your hats and just get on board now. It’s kind of long,” Wolf said. “I’d rather talk about my abortion than hear about your gluten allergy. I mean, just order already.”

While Wolf was outspoken about her feminist views, she was quick to joke about aspects of feminism with which she disagrees. Toward the beginning of her set, she criticized many feminists’ emphasis on body positivity.

Wolf, for example, said she appreciates people who call her ugly because if they still know who she is, that means she must be a “pretty good comedian.”

Critiquing white feminism, Wolf also explained that oppression toward white women is not the same as oppression toward people of color and other minorities.

“For the longest time, we couldn’t vote and have bank accounts, but we had nice houses,” Wolf said. “It was a very air-conditioned oppression.”

Casey Wells, a Weinberg freshman, said he enjoyed Wolf’s comedic talent and her ability to address political issues without being mean-spirited.

Wells said he has seen Wolf on television, and he appreciated the chance to see her live.

“I really like stand-up comedy, so I was very excited that Michelle Wolf was coming to campus,” Wells said. “I knew her from “The Daily Show” and a little bit from her show, so it was really cool that she was here for us to see and that it was free for students.”

Wolf ended her set by addressing those who are perhaps less supportive of her comedy. Referencing recent backlash, she said she takes no issue with her crude humor.

“I think I’m vulgar,” Wolf said. “And I hope that every single one of you and your daughters in the future are too.”

Email: gabriellealfieri2022@u.northwestern.edu

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