Plenty has been said about Michelle Wolf’s set at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner that I don’t need to get into here, but I would like to push back against one complaint I’ve heard that has mostly gone unchallenged, namely that abortion jokes aren’t funny.
This is an easy argument to not have with someone like Matt Schlapp, who has made a nice little career out of selling hardcore right-wing extremism as reasonable-sounding righteous indignation. Schlapp and his wife walked out of the dinner and he took to the airwaves to denounce Wolf’s abortion joke in particular. This is a prototypical example of his modus operandi. What TV personality in their right mind is going to argue with his false premise that abortion jokes aren’t funny?
You see, sometimes what’s funny about a particular kind of dark comedy isn’t the “joke” itself, but the position it puts the intended target in and, subsequently, the target’s response. Michelle Wolf’s bit on abortion wasn’t a joke, it was a razor sharp turning of the table.
Conservatives don’t think twice about using their platforms and positions to persistently and mercilessly make women feel uncomfortable about the most personal decisions they make regarding their bodies. They feel no compunction about using manipulatively graphic, context-free descriptions intended to trigger revulsion.
Michelle Wolf stood up in front of a crowd full of these self-righteous pricks and used her platform and position to make them feel uncomfortable with a similarly gratuitous approach. And that’s why this liberal laughed and continues to laugh at their delicate snowflake demands that the WHCD be a safe space for their precious beliefs when they have never afforded women any such courtesy on this issue. Abortion isn’t the joke, they are the joke—and they performed the punchline perfectly on cue.