SNL loses its edge

As an on-and-off Saturday Night Live viewer since 1975, I have begun to find it difficult to watch the show.  The show has always been dominated by liberal actors and comedians.  Comedy is supposed to be humorous, but lately the show relentlessly attacks the Trump administration personnel as evil.

Alec Baldwin's portrayal of Donald Trump has become so mean-spirited that it can appeal only to the progressives in the audience.  During the campaign, SNL pitted Baldwin's Trump against Kate McKinnon's portrayal of a maniacal Hillary Clinton.  The counter-posed characters' defects appeared more evenly matched and, therefore, acceptable. 

Satire requires some truth for the comedic effect.  Saturday's SNL's cold open skit portrays Steve Bannon as the "grim reaper."

 

Further, Trump is shown as Bannon's puppet, content to play with toys at a smaller desk.  Anyone who knows Trump could not see this aspect of his personality.  He is a dominant personality, as the last two weeks have shown.  A person who has created a multi-billion-dollar empire may provide many opportunities for mockery, but he is not stupid or docile.

In that skit, Trump is shown threatening war with Australia after speaking to and hanging up on Bennett's impersonation of Turnbull.  Then he goes on to threaten Mexico after talking to Nieto.  The president next calls and threatens Angela Merkel and Germany.  These are excessive but cute.  The issue of immigration could be funny, but this will whip up a dangerous frenzy if pushed too far.  In contrast, Melissa McCarthy's portrayal of Sean Spicer was humorous and stole the show.

Previously, Baldwin played Trump as too occupied with trivia to get presidential security briefings.  McKinnon's portrayal of Kellyanne Conway has fallen short as she plays a befuddled and meek woman, hardly matching the real person in any way.  In the past, Tina Fey played Sarah Palin so well that the quotes of each were confused; Fey could see Russia from her home, but not Palin.  President Ford, a real athlete, was shown as clumsy.  GHW Bush wouldn't be prudent.  These were funny attempts at caricature.  By contrast, as the tweets between the Baldwin and Trump indicate, their feud is personal.

I doubt that I will continue to watch the show if this continues.  I suspect that the viewership has declined.  A softening would go a long way to calming the anger in the streets.  Hollywood and broadcasting celebrities are threatening our democracy as Trump supporters now ignore them while his detractors think he is evil.  Polarization cannot breach the divide, but humor can.

As an on-and-off Saturday Night Live viewer since 1975, I have begun to find it difficult to watch the show.  The show has always been dominated by liberal actors and comedians.  Comedy is supposed to be humorous, but lately the show relentlessly attacks the Trump administration personnel as evil.

Alec Baldwin's portrayal of Donald Trump has become so mean-spirited that it can appeal only to the progressives in the audience.  During the campaign, SNL pitted Baldwin's Trump against Kate McKinnon's portrayal of a maniacal Hillary Clinton.  The counter-posed characters' defects appeared more evenly matched and, therefore, acceptable. 

Satire requires some truth for the comedic effect.  Saturday's SNL's cold open skit portrays Steve Bannon as the "grim reaper."

 

Further, Trump is shown as Bannon's puppet, content to play with toys at a smaller desk.  Anyone who knows Trump could not see this aspect of his personality.  He is a dominant personality, as the last two weeks have shown.  A person who has created a multi-billion-dollar empire may provide many opportunities for mockery, but he is not stupid or docile.

In that skit, Trump is shown threatening war with Australia after speaking to and hanging up on Bennett's impersonation of Turnbull.  Then he goes on to threaten Mexico after talking to Nieto.  The president next calls and threatens Angela Merkel and Germany.  These are excessive but cute.  The issue of immigration could be funny, but this will whip up a dangerous frenzy if pushed too far.  In contrast, Melissa McCarthy's portrayal of Sean Spicer was humorous and stole the show.

Previously, Baldwin played Trump as too occupied with trivia to get presidential security briefings.  McKinnon's portrayal of Kellyanne Conway has fallen short as she plays a befuddled and meek woman, hardly matching the real person in any way.  In the past, Tina Fey played Sarah Palin so well that the quotes of each were confused; Fey could see Russia from her home, but not Palin.  President Ford, a real athlete, was shown as clumsy.  GHW Bush wouldn't be prudent.  These were funny attempts at caricature.  By contrast, as the tweets between the Baldwin and Trump indicate, their feud is personal.

I doubt that I will continue to watch the show if this continues.  I suspect that the viewership has declined.  A softening would go a long way to calming the anger in the streets.  Hollywood and broadcasting celebrities are threatening our democracy as Trump supporters now ignore them while his detractors think he is evil.  Polarization cannot breach the divide, but humor can.