SNL creates humor out of negative politics

Christopher Carlucci, Reporter

Thank God for Donald Trump. Comedians have benefited from his election and presidency, none more than Saturday Night Live (SNL). Americans felt discontent with Trump and the current state of politics in D.C. during the election, and SNL noticed. The sketch comedy show capitalized on this discontent at the perfect time and put the voice of the opposition on the TV screen.

In 2017, approval rates with the White House were at low levels. SNL thrived, drawing viewership from people looking for relief that would not normalize, but scrutinize the politics of anger, fake news, and hate in fresh and hilarious ways.Saturday Night Live, known as SNL, saw an all time low viewership in the early 2010s. It struggled to find a cast and spirit that captured its diminishing audience’s attention. But 2016 changed the tide.

In the months leading up to the presidential election, the left leaning cast mocked Trump and his actions to dissuade voters from supporting him. Ironically, his win in the election became the most lucrative and helpful thing that could have happened to the show. With his ludicrous tweets, politics, and appointments, the show created increasingly successful political sketches. These powerful skits included star power like guests Melissa McCarthy playing the angry and eccentric ex-White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, and Alec Baldwin honing the confused and simple-minded essence of Trump.

The show was reborn, and in the first season after Trump took office, ratings spiked. “Did you see the SNL skit from over the weekend?” became a topic of conversation used more often than talk about the weather.The fresh new political satire was in demand and with revitalized writing and star studded celebrity appearances, SNL was back as the primary source for news with a comedic spin.

SNL actors were recognized at the Emmys. Actors Alec Baldwin, Tiffany Haddish, and Kate McKinnon took home the Emmy for best supporting actor, actress, and guest star in a comedy series, respectively. The show thrived, from cold opens with Trump (Baldwin) addressing his idiotic tweets, to poking fun at singular figures like Melania Trump, Sean Spicer, and Steve Bannon, proving to viewers that nobody is safe from their barrage of satirical mockery. But among the popular skits, one stood out.

The weekend update at SNL hosted by young guns Colin Jost and Michael Che shattered the standard that all serious news had to be taken seriously. From sharing wild Florida news to spinning geopolitics, the strange yet perfect pair of Jost and Che reminds viewers that there is always a silver lining to even the most difficult and painful stories.
The well-known sketch comedy show continued this successful streak. While the people and topics that comprise the majority of the jokes during these political skits may change, the fun of laughing at ourselves will continue, live, every Saturday night.