By Victor Mei
As of recent, “Saturday Night Live,” also known as SNL, has been spiking in ratings due to its introduction to mocking Trump and his staff. While political satire was always a core part of SNL, it has never before reached this level of popularity. Their political skits, especially ones involving Trump, stir up lots of controversy from both sides of the political spectrum with some reaching several million views but many with several thousand dislikes. However, has the charm worn off or is it just persisting?
Alec Baldwin’s Trump made its first debut in SNL’s “Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton Debate” on Oct. 2 which on just YouTube alone has over 23 million views along with a high like-to-dislike ratio. One of the key differences between Baldwin and most “Trumps” is how naturally he fits in his character. When saying the most ridiculous things, Baldwin makes it seem like it is just an everyday for Trump and he has painted a clear depiction of his perception of the president himself. Baldwin’s performance in this first skit was absolutely hilarious even amongst many Trump supporters. Not only does this entertain, it gives humorous light to a worrying political audience with hard hitting lines like “It’s pronounced Ghina!“
The other skits of Hillary vs.Trump have each been highly popular with each exceeding 15 million views on just YouTube with the same level of hilarity following suit. Viewership on television has also spiked up by 22% over just the last year from 8.7 million to 10.6 million. The Trump renaissance has brought SNL in the spotlight.
After Trump’s victory, it seems political humor on SNL has only gotten more frequent. In fact, ratings have spiked up even higher post election showing that SNL’s anti-Trump crusade is far from over. Baldwin’s performance and comedic timing is still amazing as Trump and really shows in SNL’s ratings. Although some may criticize the Trump is overdone as this point, it is still pulling in views and sparking up controversy amongst the political spectrum which was SNL’s intended goal anyway.
However, our president’s and his cabinet response to their portrayal is quite inadequate. White House secretary, Sean Spicer, has tweeted “Saturday Night Live used to be funny” followed up by “It’s gone from funny to just bad. Those aren’t jokes. They’re inappropriate… I think for a lot of people. Regardless of your political persuasion, that’s not what you’re tuning in for.” It seems to Spicer that it is only offensive and unfunny because it is directed towards the administration he works under.
Trump has taken his many shots at SNL’s Twitter but it just looks like childish banter. Before he took office, he tweeted that the “Alec Baldwin portrayal stinks” and said that the media had taken part of “rigging election.” But it does not stop there. After his victory in the general election he is more rampant in his attempts to slay SNL with tweets like “NBCNews is bad but Saturday Night Live is the worst of NBC. Not funny, cast is terrible, always a hit job. Really bad television!” and “ Just tried watching Saturday Night Live – unwatchable! Totally biased, not funny, and the Baldwin impersonation just can’t get any worse. Sad.”
Much of our president’s criticism is expressed in such derisive manner and he only recently expressed his hatred when he is the one being mocked. Whether one likes SNL or not, Trump’s behavior is quite unpresidential.