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Michelle Wolf: Anatomy of Woke Comic Fail

The co-star of Netflix's 'Friends Who Kill' shows limits of talking-point yuks

Comedians have a blunt way of describing peers who make audiences howl.

They “kill” on stage. No blood is shed, just peals of laughter echoing around the room.

It’s the highest compliment a stand-up can share, and it’s why Bill Burr used the phrase for his new Netflix special.

Backstage at Bill Burr Presents: Friends Who Kill

“Bill Burr Presents: Friends Who Kill” lets the “Paper Tiger” star tell a few jokes of his own before introducing his “killer” friends. That list includes Michelle Wolf, Jimmy Carr, Steph Tolev, Jeff Ross, Dave Attell, Ian Edwards, Joe Bartnick, Jessica Kirson, Dean Delray, Ronny Chieng and Josh Adam Meyers.

Ross and Attell are comedy institutions who don’t need a boost like this. The same is true for Wolf, who had her own Netflix talk show and made waves with her angry, uber-partisan gig at the 2018 White House Correspondents Dinner.

Wolf’s part of “Friends Who Kill” inadvertently gave us a lesson Woke Comedy 101.

The host of Netflix’ short-lived “The Break with Michelle Wolf” immediately went woke with her 10-minute set. She complained about how rare it is to find female leaders in the U.S., noting Vice President Kamala Harris as the exception that proved the political rule.

Rather than dig into Harris’ pathetic approval numbers or legendary gaffes, Wolf lectures the crowd about other nations that routinely have women in charge.

There’s an interesting cultural point here. It’s just not funny, at least not the way Wolf presents it. A better comic might bridge that gap, but the shrieky-voiced Wolf lacks those chops.

Wolf spends much of her allotted time mocking white women because, as she puts it, “it’s fun and easy.”

Woke on steroids. And, as a comic, “easy” jokes are the laziest to tell.

The comedienne notes the MeToo movement died of self-inflicted wounds, a set-up that could drill down into exactly why that took place.

Instead, she digs up one tiny morsel – some women like to be dominated in the bedroom by men. Not bad, but she’s ignoring so many truths in the process.

And that’s what Wolf’s set lacks. Truth.

The best satire has a kernel of truth to it. It’s why when “The Simpsons” mocked President Donald Trump for an alleged lack of stamina it hit a sour note. Trump is a deeply flawed soul, but for a 70-something adult he’s a bundle of energy.

Wolf strays from the truth over and again after the female leaders opening, leaving an act that doesn’t remotely “kill.”

Then again, woke comedy isn’t mean to make us laugh.


  1. Someone on here wrote the author sounds like a jilted lover. Why? For expressing an opinion you don’t agree with? No buddy. That’s as lame as it gets. I will second the authors sentiment, this chick is just not funny. (Plenty of female comics fall into this category, sorry if you don’t like the opinion, but in my experience of cringeworthy sittings in front of these creatures, its more of a fact.)

  2. The author of this “article” sounds like a jilted lover trying to bring down an ex. Its sad to see such a lame attempt to belittle a great talent.

  3. Thought her first Netflix appearance was funny, then came the correspondence dinner which showed her a true colors. Woke, mean, and sanctimonious is a toxic combination. Cringy not funny. Good riddance.

  4. Angela Merkel and Jacinda Arden say hi. How about we stop focusing on the genitalia, color, sexual preferences of our leaders and put a premium on policy and competency.

    1. Sorry, but neither Merkel nor Arden are testimony to competence. Merkel admitted over a million unvetted immigrants to Germany (AFTER her “multiculturalism doesn’t work” speech) leading to hugely increased social welfare costs, increasing violence against women, and without consulting German voters. Arden’s lock downs did not save NZ from Covid, but did break new ground in violating civil liberties. “Focusing on genitalia and color over competence” is precisely why we are now saddled with that cackling cretin Kamala Harris, who was selected precisely as a black woman, not as a competent women or even as one who had proved herself by performing well in the primaries.

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