The Trump Effect: SNL Edition

SAMANTHA KOLB | ENTERTAINMENT COLUMNIST

Whether you’ve decided to delete your Facebook page or have become extra involved with politics since the election, no doubt the news of Saturday Night Live’s Trump sketches have reached your ears. Alec Baldwin recently hosted the popular show for his seventeenth time, though he has appeared multiple times since the election last year. Melissa McCarthy blew audiences away (literally, since there was a leaf blower in her cold open) reprising her role as Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

So what makes these sketches and characters as newsworthy as they are? Saturday Night Live has covered countless political events and people before 2016, so what makes this time so special? Will Ferrell played the infamous George W. Bush and later on Jay Pharoah took up the mantle as Barack Obama for his run as president. Both of them are honorable mentions in the lineup of SNL’s actors. Alec Baldwin is a big name, which adds to the hype, and his comedic accuracy has even landed his picture in a Dominican newspaper in place of the genuine president’s.

One reason for the massive awareness involves this being a time when technology allows for rapid and frequent communication. This current president, whatever opinion there may be about him, does love his Twitter. He especially loves typing in all caps when things don’t go his way. His outrage at Alec Baldwin and Melissa McCarthy’s interpretations of him and members of his cabinet adds to the spectacle and, quite frankly, encourages others to watch what exactly caused the latest round of Twitter rants.

Now, my own political opinion may slip into my observations, but part of why SNL’s Trump interpretations are as funny as they are is that there ia a lot of material to use. The good people of SNL excel at pulling quirks and flaws out of every one of their targets, and Trump, Spicer and Kellyanne Conway are character goldmines. A few weeks ago, Kate McKinnon spoofed the famous “Roxie” scene from the film “Chicago” with her own Kellyanne spin, “Who says that lying’s not an art?”

This new presidency has been met with. . . criticism, certainly. Revolt. Plenty of memes to go around. And humor. Humor is the best way to cope, and with half of America feeling itchy against the decisions being made in the White House (or Trump Tower, since that’s where he wants to stay), the SNL writers have taken up one of the many mantles of making the best out of a not-so-great situation. Laughter heals, and this is a time when a divided America needs much healing. I salute Saturday Night Live, and all the actors who engage in adding a few more chuckles to the world.

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