I watched a video of Wolf’s set, now first I’ll admit I’m British and some of the jokes didn’t travel, but that aside, not only did Michelle Wolf totally misread her audience, her timing was poor and her delivery amateurish.
And if, as the author claims, she did her research and honed her set, the might have realised that what will go down well with snowflakes at a college gig was not going to work here.
To avoid partisan responses in illustrating the point, we should perhaps think in terms of 1930s comedy. There were people who loved The Three Stooges or Laurel and Hardy and those who loved the acerbic wit of author Dorothy Parker.
What Wolf did was the equivalent of showing a Three Stooges short to an audience of Dorothy Parker fans.
In Britain there has been a lot of criticism of TV comedy and the comedy on offer at live gigs. Performers and writers need to realise that the left no more has a monopoly on with that it does on truth and virtue. Feature a bill consisting of performers whose act consists of slagging off conservatives while praising socialists when according to demographic analysis of election results a third of your audience is likely to be conservative and another third belong to the non aligned demographic who despise all politicians and your appeal is going to be limited.
Learn to appeal to a broad audience or you’ll be walking dogs and playing comedy to small audiences of angry, bigoted people in subterranean shitholes for a long time. Remember, the vast majority of people don’t necessarily share your political prejudices or moral values. Lenny Bruce and Bill Hicks (who were both brilliantly funny — if shocking at times) succeeded because they found a niche audience. Now all hopefuls are competing for that same niche audience,and there just isn’t a living to be had entertaining a small fragment of them.
As for Michelle Wolf, well maybe she’d be well advised to look for a day job.