Known most recently as the woman who crushed hosting the 2018 White House Correspondents’ Dinner, Michelle Wolf is a force in comedy. After working in finance and taking improv classes after college, she traded in her “Wolf of Wall Street” title for recruiting work at a biochemistry lab because it offered her more time to work on comedy. She honed jokes at her desk, tweeting them out and rewriting bits each day. Eventually, she saved up enough money from the gig to last a year without a job, so she took a chance on herself.
It paid off.
A year after leaving the lab, Michelle got hired as a writer on Late Night With Seth Meyers. Two years later, she was performing on-camera on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. And two years after that, she was giving that famed speech at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. If it seems she came out of nowhere, know this: Michelle performs sometimes upwards of 20 times a week. She’s a hustler, and it shows. We’re so excited to see where 2019 takes her.
You quit a career in finance to pursue comedy. What did you learn from leaving a steady career to pursue your passion?
That the best motivation for me was to be absolutely terrified.
What about your job makes you feel the most fulfilled?
I just love jokes. I love figuring them out, finding where they go, and how they end.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
What keeps you up at night?
Nothing. I work a lot. As soon as I go to bed, I'm out.
To prepare for your HBO special Nice Lady, you did a 100-show tour. What advice would you give women on the importance of practice and preparation for their dream job?
I'd give women the same advice I'd give men: do the work.
When you hit a bump or hurdle in your career, how do you find a new road + switch gears to find success?
Any time I'm stuck, I'll go for a run. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't. Comedy is hard. You're gonna hit hurdles all the time. Run into them and try again.
You’re an ultramarathoner and completed a 50-mile race this year. What do you love most about running?
Which women in your industry do you look up to most? Why?
Carol Burnett. She's the best.
What are you most excited for in 2019?
I'm just excited to work hard and see what happens.
Photo Credit: Craig Blankenhorn