SNL provides great parody for a nasty election
This election year, the Saturday Night Live writers’ room is likely littered with thousands of Post-it notes, many of which would read “Hillary,” “Trump” or “debate.” With such a wild, dirty election between two big personalities, there’s almost too much material for the legendary satire show’s premiere episodes of the 42nd season. The stars of the show are, of course, Alec Baldwin as Republican candidate Donald J. Trump and Kate McKinnon as Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Though Baldwin is not a regular cast member and never was, he’s been a host sixteen times for Saturday Night Live and was the absolute perfect choice for Trump. Baldwin portrays Trump nearly flawlessly: the voice, the slang, the hair, the orange spray tanned skin and the exact nuances of his actions are spot-on.
Clinton’s confidence (often confused as cockiness) is greatly exaggerated by leading cast member McKinnon via her expressions and actions. Hillary is known to be a bit sassy during her debates while fact-checking Trump and generally avoiding outrageous accusations. While McKinnon’s Hillary is an exaggeration, Baldwin’s Trump is barely a parody. Much of the atrocious language coming out of Baldwin’s mouth on the live show is exactly what Trump has said, or could very possibly say in the future.
In addition to Trump being mocked in the SNL debates, Trump supporters were also instantly knocked in Michael Che’s Lester Holt monologue. “No cheering, no clapping,” Che began, “and, to the Trump supporters: no shirt, no shoes, no service.” Trump supporters have been the subject of many jokes in this election season, as well as Trump’s entire candidacy.
Another interesting aspect of the candidate portrayals this year is the comparison to past representations. Before McKinnon joined the SNL cast in 2012, alums Amy Poehler, Ana Gasteyer and Jan Hooks have parodied the famous former First Lady and Secretary of State. Meanwhile, SNL alums Darrell Hammond and Taran Killam (recently fired before this new season) portrayed Trump before Baldwin got the chance to give his perfect impersonation.
In Amy Poehler’s SNL career, she was best known as a Weekend Update anchor and her brilliant Clinton representation. But while the dialogue of Poehler’s Clinton was equivalently hilarious and absurd, McKinnon’s power of expression is what makes each skit this season incredible. Clinton’s real-life debates with Trump have been filled with The Office-style incredulous expressions at debate cameras. McKinnon takes advantage of this characteristic of Clinton’s and provides hilarious exaggerations of Clinton’s annoyance with her opposing candidate.
And right now, SNL debate parodies are the jokes that America needs to get through the disastrous, nasty debates and election.
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