Review: Michelle Wolf, “Joke Show” on Netflix

“It seems like, over the past couple of years, we’ve developed this amazing ability to get mad at anyone for any reason.”

That’s how Michelle Wolf opens her HBO special. Wolf would know. Last the nation saw her all at once, she was tearing up the White House Correspondents Dinner to the point where they decided not to hire a comedian for their keynote the following year. Or ever again? She’d also been cancelled by Netflix, coincidentally we’re led to believe, for not registering enough as a talk-show or sketch show host. Even though she was hot stuff. Which isn’t a bad thing for a comedian to be. Then again, take another look and listen to Wolf’s opening line. She takes it to posting about otters on Instagram.

We’re even weirder and wilder in 2020 than we were in 2019, too.

But back in 2019, Wolf and Nikki Glaser both released Netflix specials that took on the men of comedy in their own raunchy game.

 Joke Show also represents Wolf’s own manifesto on feminism. She wants us to laugh at but also recognize the dumb idiot men who necessitate warning signs, while also reminding women they must remain wary of the brute strength of said men. She wants white women to laugh at themselves for recognizing their fault in not lifting up other women. But she doesn’t want any of us to forget that women should be treated equally, in live as well as in comedy.

That’s where she does momentarily return to the scene of last year’s White House Correspondents Dinner, noting that the reporter sitting next to Wolf on the dais called her vulgar even before she delivered her keynote address. “Oh, if you think I’m vulgar, you should hear male comics,” Wolf replies now. Or men in powerful positions. Why do they get a pass?

Why, indeed.

Read my full review on

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

View all posts by Sean L. McCarthy →