Saturday Night Live Returns with Political Bits

Saturday Night Live - Season 41For forty years, Saturday Night Live has mined comedy out of the political scene. Elections have especially been gold mines for the landmark late night show. On yesterday’s season premiere, the show had four different news sketches, with three focused on the election. This is in addition to the news-focused Weekend Update segment.

The show’s cold open focused on Donald Trump with an appearance by his wife, Melania Trump. The sketch tackled Trump and his campaign as he tries to connect to everyday Americans, but still highlights his success. Melania, played by Cecily Strong, points out some of Trump’s more liberal positions as she talks about social issues while Trump, played by Taran Killam, shushes over her as she speaks.

Host Miley Cyrus’s monologue consisted of her singing Frank Sinatra’s My Way while celebrating the notorious figures of the summer, including Rachel Dolezal, Pope Francis, Kim Davis, and the dentist who killed Cecil the Lion.

In addition to political bits, Saturday Night Live is known for its commercial parodies. With Abilify, Saturday Night Live combined the two to mock the high number of candidates running for President. The candidates highlighted are former Governor Jim Gilmore (R-VA), former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), and former Governor Mike Huckabee (R-AR). All three are lampooned for believing they have a shot at winning the Presidency, especially Gilmore. Huckabee’s stand with Kim Davis and his proposed plan of going to jail in her place is also made fun of. The drug is prescribed for mental illness and directed towards eleven individuals. Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA) is also mentioned as someone who should take Abilify.

One of the most anticipated sketches of the night featured Hillary Clinton. Kate McKinnon continued her impression of Hillary Clinton while the former Secretary of State portrayed the bartender, Val. Val and Clinton discussed the 2016 election while the real Clinton got to show off her Trump impression. Some of Clinton’s talking points were brought up, such as her opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline. McKinnon’s Clinton brought up how she should have come around to support same-sex marriage quicker while the real Clinton said that all that matters is eventually getting it right. McKinnon, who is openly gay, countered by saying she still should have done it sooner. Clinton’s response, “Fair point.” At one point, Darrell Hammond’s Bill Clinton came out and feared that there was now two of his wife. “They’re multiplying!” he said before fleeing the tavern.

Saturday Night Live’s sketches do have an impact on the political discussion. Clinton’s appearance came as a result of her campaign’s efforts to make her seem more relaxed and less stiff. The Trump sketch pointed out his hypocritical stances and the Abilify poked fun at the lower tier candidates. With more than three sketches in one night and a long presidential campaign that has shown the ability to produce comedy in spades, Saturday Night Live could have a very political season ahead.

About Tyler

Tyler is the chief media reporter for TKNN, with the news organization since its founding in November of 2010. He has previously served as chief political reporter and chief political anchor for TKNN.

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