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The Blue & Gray Press | August 22, 2019

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Saturday Night Live’s political satire steps up their game

Saturday Night Live’s political satire steps up their game


Saturday Night Live has been on a roll with its political comedy sketches over the past few months. Every week, they bring us a new parody of some politician who has said or done something worth parodying, most often Donald Trump. This can likely be attributed to Trump’s campaign for president, and of course, his victory over Hillary Clinton in the election.

Throughout his campaign, Trump said and did many things that were seen as outlandish, ridiculous, and at times even childish in the eyes of the public. The fact that he’s now our president has a lot of people worried and even a little scared. Of course, every time the current president, or any politician, does something that the people of America see as idiotic, the writers and actors of Saturday Night Live have a field day adapting it into an absurd and hilarious parody sketch.

Some of the more recent examples of these sketches could be seen in the Feb. 4, episode of the show, which featured a sketch in which Donald Trump was advised by his assistant, Steve Bannon (who was portrayed as Death himself) to call the leaders of various countries and declare war on them. He even tries to trick the president of Mexico into paying for his planned border wall.

The sketch ends by revealing that Trump’s desk actually belongs to Bannon, the true president, and the shot expands to show a much smaller desk off to the side with an expanding sphere toy for Trump to play with all day.

The episode also contains a “Weekend Update” sketch in which two news reporters make fun of Trump’s first few actions as president, including signing 18 executive orders in 12 days, his now infamous travel ban, and his phone call with the Australian prime minister in which he rejected former President Obama’s plan to accept more than 1,000 refugees from Australia into America. They also poked fun at Kellyanne Conway’s claim about the “Bowling Green Massacre,” which seems to be a terrorist attack that she completely fabricated.

The true genius behind these sketches is how the writers and actors make use of such excellent visual humor and comedic timing to express their opinions on politicians and what they’re doing right and wrong. For example, the sketch I described where Trump is being advised by Steve Bannon is clearly meant to represent Saturday Night Live’s opinions on how Trump is just playing second fiddle to Bannon, the one with the real power.

The fact that Bannon is portrayed as the Grim Reaper is, of course, excellent visual humor. In a way, sketches like these can almost be considered a message to politicians, a wakeup call to let them know what they’re doing wrong and how they’re making fools of themselves. Clearly, many people agree with the messages expressed in the show’s sketches. They get millions of views on YouTube, which indicates that they are having a huge impact on people’s political opinions.

This is the point of the sketches- not just to show the politicians what they’re doing wrong, but to show the people of America as well. These sketches aren’t just meant for laughs- they’re meant to ridicule the people who run our country in a surreal fashion, pointing out the flaws in their work and what they should be doing better. I hope SNL continues to deliver us these bits of comedy gold, and that politicians learn a thing or two from them.