Michelle Wolf took aim at Sarah Huckabee Sanders during her act - with Sanders sitting only a few seats away
There has been a mixed reaction to a comedian's 'roast' of White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders at an event in Washington DC.
Sanders was among the guests at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, an annual event for the White House press corps.
Despite presidents having traditionally attended the event in the past, President Trump opted to skip the dinner for the second year in a row - instead attending a campaign rally in Michigan.
The dinner typically features a comedy act with jokes focusing on the current administration, and this year comedian Michelle Wolf was on 'roast' duties.
While her jokes took aim at various members of the Trump administration and the US president himself, the jokes concerning Sanders gained particular attention.
Wolf joked: "I actually really like Sarah. I think she's very resourceful. But she burns facts and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smokey eye.
"Maybe she's born with it... maybe it's lies. It's probably lies."
At one point, the comedian told Sanders "I love you as Aunt Lydia" - referring to the cruel disciplinarian from The Handmaid's Tale TV show.
Footage showed the press secretary - who was sitting only a few seats away - looking visibly uncomfortable and unhappy during the speech.
Conservative commentators and Trump supporters were among those most critical of the act.
The US president himself claimed Wolf 'bombed' during the event:
While Washington, Michigan, was a big success, Washington, D.C., just didn’t work. Everyone is talking about the fact that the White House Correspondents Dinner was a very big, boring bust...the so-called comedian really “bombed.” @greggutfeld should host next year! @PeteHegseth— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 29, 2018
Sanders' predecessor Sean Spicer described the event as a 'disgrace' - a reaction Wolf herself welcomed.
Tonight’s #WHCD was a disgrace— Sean Spicer (@seanspicer) April 29, 2018
Thank you! https://t.co/0Nsx5ZBj8c— Michelle Wolf (@michelleisawolf) April 29, 2018
Others declared the Trump administration as 'fair game' for such humour.
There was a mixed reaction from the press corps itself - with some describing the jokes about Sanders as 'cruel' and 'mean'.
The New York Times' Maggie Haberman - who has recently been the focus of some of President Trump's personal attacks - described Sanders' reaction as 'impressive':
That @PressSec sat and absorbed intense criticism of her physical appearance, her job performance, and so forth, instead of walking out, on national television, was impressive.— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) April 29, 2018
That response was criticised by comedian and The Big Sick writer Kumail Nanjiani, and Wolf herself:
They call you liars. They call Mexicans rapists. They call Muslims murderers. They support white supremacists. But someone calls them out on what they do, & suddenly they’re heroes for not walking out. https://t.co/B9aT7moy2C— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) April 29, 2018
Hey mags! All these jokes were about her despicable behavior. Sounds like you have some thoughts about her looks though? 😘 https://t.co/JRzzvhBuey— Michelle Wolf (@michelleisawolf) April 29, 2018
The annual dinner has often attracted criticism, with some arguing it symbolises an 'access journalism' culture in which journalists are too reliant on the White House and official channels for information and stories.
CNN's Jim Acosta - well known for his frequent clashes with the administration - said his problem with the dinner was not the jokes:
My problem with last night’s dinner is not that we had a comedian who told some nasty jokes. It’s that we did not really address the nearly constant attacks on the press from the president. The dinner should change with the times so we send a strong message to the world. #WHCD— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) April 29, 2018