It’s hard for me to believe now that the first time I saw Michelle Wolf onstage, she was rolling around the basement of the UCB as a supporting character used as a prop for a sketch show. Wolf had so much more in her than that.
And now we all know.
Michelle Wolf’s first stand-up comedy special, Nice Lady on HBO, comes at the perfect time. Wolf, previously seen in bits for NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers, and now as a correspondent for Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, is ready to reach an even larger audience. Her message wasn’t any less relevant or important or funny a year or two ago, but right now, we’re ready to hear it and understand it fully.
The word feminist confuses too many people, or perhaps makes some jump to conclusions, precisely because the movement has lacked focus before now. “We’ve got to focus on what we’re fighting for – stop going after shiny objects.” Wolf asks: Do women want to be in charge or do they want to “free the nipple” on Instagram? Of the latter, she adds: “It’s just hard for me to even believe that that was a woman’s idea.” And of the former, she finds the title for her debut hour on HBO: “Nice ladies aren’t in charge of things. And if you’re in charge of something and you think you’re a nice lady, no one else does.” No wonder many voters, even those like Wolf who picked Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, didn’t like Hillary. But don’t make it about her voice, as Wolf herself self-deprecatingly mocks her own shrillness: “Sometimes that is what happens to your voice! Because you don’t get to choose your voice!” You think Wolf wanted to sound like this? She continues: “No, leave the sexy voices for someone else. This hair will take care of the rest of it.”
Time for men to start listening up.