'Snowflakes': Comedians slam 'cowards' at the White House Correspondents' Association for capitulating to Trump by removing comedy roast

Instead of a comedian, the White House Correspondents' Association enlisted a historian to headline the event.

Michelle Wolf (Screengrab / C-Span)

From Chevy Chase to Wanda Sykes to Stephen Colbert, comedy has been a long-time tradition at the White House Correspondents Dinner. But on November 19, the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) announced that there would be no comedian at the 2019 White House Correspondents Dinner. Instead, the Association will be featuring historian Ron Chernow—and comedians are not happy about it.

One of them is Michelle Wolf, who was featured at the 2018 White House Correspondents Dinner and had some laughs at the expense of White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders—inspiring a lot of whiny faux-outrage from Trumpistas.

Visiting Twitter on November 19, Wolf posted, “The @whca are cowards. The media is complicit. And I couldn’t be prouder.”

“Daily Show” correspondent Roy Wood, Jr. was equally outspoken about the decision, telling The Daily Beast it was a “sad day for jokes. I would call the people who made this decision a bunch of snowflakes, but then, we’d just be called snowflakes for calling them snowflakes.”

Comedian Cameron Esposito, responding to a Daily Beast interview request, echoed Wolf’s view that the WHCA are “cowards.”

Over the years, the White House Correspondents Dinner has had some memorable comic moments. At the 1976 event, the guest comedian was Chevy Chase—who had been lampooning President Gerald R. Ford mercilessly on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.” But Ford had a sense of humor about it, and his ability to laugh at the joke along with Chase spoke well of him. And Dana Carvey’s hilarious impression of President George H.W. Bush on “SNL” even led to the two of them becoming friends and appearing together at the event.

Some of the event’s edgiest moments at a White House Correspondents Dinner came in 2009, when guest comedian Wanda Sykes tore Rush Limbaugh to pieces for his assertion that he hoped Barack Obama would fail as president. Sykes joked that Limbaugh’s comments were so unpatriotic that he might have been 9/11’s “20th hijacker.”

In addition to the right-wing faux-outrage over Wolf, a factor in the WHCA’s decision to not hire a comedian for 2019 might have been President Donald Trump’s indignation over Alec Baldwin’s impressions of him on “Saturday Night Live.” Trump is the first U.S. president to be openly angry about being lampooned on the long-running sketch comedy show.

W. Kamau Bell (host of CNN’s “United Shades of America”) has also spoken out about the WHCA’s decision to not feature a comedian in 2019. On November 19, Bell tweeted, “After the way the WHCA & many journalists talked about Michelle Wolf, it was official that no comedian worth a damn would take this gig.”

 

Don't let big tech control what news you see. Get more stories like this in your inbox, every day.

Alex Henderson is a news writer at AlterNet and veteran political journalist. His work has also appeared in Salon, Raw Story, Truthdig, National Memo, Philadelphia Weekly, Democratic Underground, L.A. Weekly, MintPress News and many other publications. Follow him on Twitter @alexvhenderson.