Saturday Night live grapples with global issues that are often anxiety provoking, by channeling them through an entertaining and humorous viewpoint. The presidential election is no exception. In fact, for many, election years provide some of SNL’s most memorable moments. With all the treachery and scandal, the continuous attack and retaliation, the low blows and the high ones, the United States, and the entire world, are on edge, waiting to see which candidate will prevail. With such immense and impactful an ordeal, stress and fear may plague the hearts of all, but SNL provides the remedy with a good dose of humor.
With Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton and Alec Baldwin portraying Donald Trump, viewers have been watching farcical takes on the election cycle for months. The latest debate parody saw McKinnon and Baldwin joined by Tom Hanks as moderator, Chris Wallace.
Both Trump and Clinton both make an exaggerated entrance, Hillary all wide eyes and fixed smiles, repetitive clipped waves to the crowd. Donald swaggered in slightly nodding and even shot some finger guns at the crowd. The imitation Trump, in a soft, deep voice, assures the moderator that he will speak in the quietest voice possible as “in the past, I have been big and loud, but tonight I will be sweet little—” and he pauses for emphasis, “baby Trump.” He then furiously erupts the first question about women’s issues.
When the immigration question is asked, Baldwin as Trump perfectly executes Trump’s usual demeanor, facial expressions, word choice and tone of voice, and responds very humorously about excellent relations with the Mexican president “Mr. Guacamole.” He then goes off into an incoherent ramble about the Middle East and expresses relief when cut off, stating, “I don’t know if you can tell, but I was really spinning—” (here crunches up his face convincingly) “out of control.”
When asked about women, Trump makes his now infamous claim that “nobody has more respect for women that I do.” The screen pans from laughing faces, to a laughing crowd to, finally, an image of earth laughing. Mr. Moderator calms the crowd, admonishing, “Settle down entire planet.”
The imitation performed by Baldwin and McKinnon were convincing, particularly Baldwin in capturing Mr. Trump’s exact tone of voice and facial gestures. McKinnon grasped Clinton’s abrupt head turns and oft dumbfounded expression in response to Trump’s comments.
In an election as sobering as this one has been, it’s nice to know that one thing hasn’t changed: SNL still doesn’t intend to give politicians a break.