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This week, Saturday Night Live wheeled out Alec Baldwin and his orange makeup to deliver a meat-headed parody of Donald Trump’s combative press conference. As has become customary with these sketches, the jokes were easy, flimsy, and — despite the topic — bereft of any sort of substantial political satire. No, what SNL couldn’t wait to get to was urine jokes, a floodgate opened when earlier this week, the media decided it was OK to start giggling about alleged Trump sexual predilections contained in a report about Russia’s attempt to influence the recent election.
The stupid SNL sketch had its reporters peppering Trump with questions about “your big Russian pee-pee party” and Baldwin/Trump responding, “I’m not talking about the pee-pee, because it didn’t happen, and it wasn’t as cool as it sounds.” It was excruciating, right down to Beck Bennett’s bare-chested Putin holding up a VHS tape labeled “Pee Pee Tape.”
So, yes, SNL was awful again, but is it worthy of presidential-level condemnation? Of course not, but that hasn’t stopped Trump in the past. As I write this, Trump hasn’t tweeted anything about Saturday’s SNL opening [SEE UPDATE BELOW], but on Sunday morning’s MediaBuzz on Fox News, host Howard Kurtz had incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer on to act as a human tweet aimed against SNL.
“Those aren’t jokes,” Spicer told Kurtz when asked about the Baldwin sketch, and I’d have to agree with that. SNL, said Spicer, is “over the top … it’s not funny.” Basically, he said what millions of viewers and other comedians have been saying about SNL for years. But then Spicer injected this element into his diatribe: “Saturday Night Live has gone from being funny to a left-wing hit-piece.”
Wrong. SNL’s politics have always been centrist-to-leaning slightly right. Jim Downey, the veteran SNL writer who oversees these political sketches, has been described by former SNL head writer Adam McKay as “right-wing”; former cast member Horatio Sanz once commented that Downey is “basically the Karl Rove of SNL.” Furthermore, for Spicer to describe what SNL did on Saturday as a “hit piece” gives SNL a lot more credit than it deserves. Hit pieces have at least two goals: to make a specific point, and to wound their subject. SNL’s lame opening did neither. Sorry, Sean, you’ll have to direct your ire at perceived left-wing hit-pieces where you usually imagine they exist: within the mainstream news media.
UPDATE: At around 7 p.m. EST, Trump tweeted that SNL is “the worst of NBC. Not funny, cast is terrible, always a complete hit job. Really bad television!” So employee Spicer and boss Trump are on the same page, same language: Every knock is a “hit piece/job.” Always staggering to realize this is what we’re going to be reading from a President of the United States for the next four years.
Saturday Night Live airs Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. on NBC. MediaBuzz airs Sundays at 11 a.m. on Fox News.