The Break With Michelle Wolf: Grade It!

Comedienne Michelle Wolf on Sunday launched her new Netflix series The Break, and wasted no time weighing in on recent headlines involving the NFL, the #MeToo movement and the royal wedding. Also addressed was her controversial performance at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

The Daily Show alumna became a talking point among cable news pundits back in late April, drawing ire for a joke she made at the expense of Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Much of the criticism stemmed from those who completely missed the point she was trying to make; what they construed to be a jab at the press secretary’s appearance was a commentary on the idea that she lies on behalf of the president (“She burns facts, and then she uses the ash to create a perfect smoky eye. Like, maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s lies. [Pause] It’s probably lies.”).

The alleged controversy was one of the many things Wolf addressed in the series premiere of her new show. Her brief-but-pointed response came midway through the episode, during a segment on what it means to be a feminist: “For the record, that was not a looks-based joke,” she said. “That was about her ugly personality. She has the Mario Batali of personalities.” The desk piece, which “disguised” itself as a bit called “Sports Smash,” found Wolf balking at the idea that all women have to support each other to call themselves feminists. What followed was a list of five women who she’s choosing not to support right now, including newly appointed CIA director Gina Haspel (“Who knew you could waterboard a glass ceiling until it broke?”) and Bill Cosby’s devoted wife Camille (“Oh, you supported your husband? What’s the plan after this? Start a supergroup with Dottie Sandusky?”).

Even stronger than “Sports Smash” was Wolf’s stand-up comedy routine, which took the place of a traditional opening monologue. Among her strongest jokes…

* On the NFL’s decision to fine teams whose players kneel during the National Anthem: “If there’s an issue the NFL can address, it’s cool it with the instant replays. Just get refs with good eyes who can see things and make good calls — and then once you’re positive those refs have good eyes and can make the right call, see if they maybe want to be a police officer. That’s how you should become a cop. Think about it: Refs can see things, they’re not threatened by black men, and their reaction to sudden movement is to just throw a flag. Or another solution is that we could stop killing black people and address that we have centuries worth of ingrained racism in our society. I don’t know, I’m just thinking out loud.”

* On the Miss USA pageant: “This year the contestants shared their #MeToo experiences in prerecorded videos, which is insane because the whole pageant is one big #MeToo. These women are literally walking across the stage in bathing suits so that judges can score their bodies and then maybe reward them with money.”

* On the royal wedding: “So I have this theory that Prince Harry saw Meghan Markle in Suits and was a fan of her, and now the rest of their relationship is her shielding him from better shows. He’s like, ‘Suits is the best,’ and she’s like, ‘You’re right! There are no better shows.’ And he’s like, ‘What’s this I hear about Big Little Lies?’ And she’s like, ‘No, it’s terrible. Ugly people, hard to follow, very few suits.'”

The episode’s final act featured Late Night With Seth Meyers‘ Amber Ruffin. Together, she and Wolf riffed on women who choose not to have families of their own, with Wolf concluding that “if having babies really was the best job in the world, men would’ve figured out a way for them to do it.”

Not as strong as the aforementioned in-studio segments were the pre-taped sketches that aired in place of traditional commercial breaks. Those included multiple ads for a new version of the Amazon Echo, and a fake movie trailer for the film Featuring a Strong Female Lead, as seen below:

What did you think of The Break With Michelle Wolf? Grade the series premiere via the following poll, then hit the comments with your reactions.