Every four years, when election year comes around, Saturday Night Live producers go crazy. There’s nothing like the presidential election in terms of funny, weird, and relevant content. This year, it seems that we have an extra special election on our hands; both of the candidates have provided us with extremely hilarious content each in their own silly way. SNL political skits aren’t just funny, though. They spur discussion, especially among younger crowds. I invite you to check them out, and hear me out when I say SNL is killing it.
Although I’ve always loved SNL, I especially enjoy watching during election season. I appreciate that the actors go to great lengths to spoof both candidates, while still staying true to current events and quotes from the characters themselves. This season, Alec Baldwin and Kate McKinnon as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, respectively, have done a marvelous job picking up on the subtleties (and sometimes, the not-so-subtle characteristics) of the two candidates. Baldwin portrays a squinty-eyed, too-tan Trump who has the tendency to blurt out “WRONG!” at inopportune times. Meanwhile, McKinnon plays on the relatability of Clinton, going to great lengths to show that she is a not a robot, and actually can understand pop culture references.
SNL picks up on funny, obvious characteristics and mannerisms of the candidates, but it also tackles bigger issues in the campaign. These include Hillary’s email scandal as well as the recent release of Trump’s sexual assault-laden comments. These different events/problems are highlighted and made fun of in the comedy performances, but the funny backdrop allows us to see the true ridiculousness in some elements of politics.
The best thing about SNL’s political involvement is how it appeals to the youth. SNL’s viewers range in age, but many young people are becoming more aware of the election and what each of the candidates stand for in part because of Saturday Night Live. The Weekend Update with Colin Jost and Michael Che pokes fun at true quotes and events from and by Trump and Clinton. Although it’s silly to think that people are getting their news solely from SNL, this may be the case for some. I think SNL gives a new (slightly exaggerated) take on the election, teaching younger generations what the candidates are really doing and what they really mean, even if it’s in a funny way. And if that’s the best we can do to get people to watch the news and pay attention to what each candidate really stands for, then so be it. It’s better than nothing.