Home / Fall 2015 / Politicians trying to play both sides of ‘SNL’ double-edged comedy sword

Politicians trying to play both sides of ‘SNL’ double-edged comedy sword

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump hosted on "Saturday Night Live" on Nov. 7. (Photo Courtesy: Dana Edelson/NBC.com)

In a skit that included Bill Clinton, played by Phil Hartman, going to McDonald’s can be connected to the show displaying the idea that the political candidates are real people who do normal things. This, in a way, made Bill Clinton seem more human and relatable even throughout all of the jokes. Bill Clinton was elected president and is still appreciated despite the big scandal with his relationship.

So, to be honest, the audience reaction really doesn’t seem to be consistent enough to say that SNL can shape the way we think about candidates, or maybe not shape enough of us to alter who votes. There have been positive and negative effects regardless of how they are shown on SNL. US News calls what SNL does “blurring the lines between scripted and unscripted”, meaning that they know how to take real quotes and create satire for their spoofs, causing people to connect these actors and actresses to the real life candidates.

Donald Trump was the most recent political figure to grace the hosting position of SNL.  On Nov. 7 he took on the role.

He’s gave a teaser on former member of the “SNL” cast Jimmy Fallon’s talk show and though he took the jokes and stabs fairly well, he still wasn’t funny.

The lack of comedy coming rom Trump didn’t end on Fallon’s show.

“The crowd seemed to check out early, creating an energy-sucking vicous cycle,” said The New York Times about Trump’s performance.

This appearance on “SNL” didn’t help or hurt Trump’s run for the Republican candicacy, but it was all around boring.

All in all, “SNL” is still a comedy sketch show. Anything said and done on the show is supposed to be for laughs and not really taken seriously. Although they do pull real life situations for these characters and they often perform sketches with actual messages, SNL cannot be blamed for helping or hurting any political candidate’s careers—at least not single-handedly—because that’s the politician’s job, not theirs’. Also, if the audiences too closely relate these characters to the politicians that they are based on, then they may need to reevaluate themselves.

SNL has no plans to stop these sketches any time soon so brace yourselves politicians and everyone else just enjoy the ride.


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