Alec Baldwin’s Trump impression on Saturday Night Live might get all the buzz, but the show still finds time to make fun of both sides of the political aisle. Take this video, where a handful of SNL regulars do Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Diane Feinstein, Donna Brazile, Hillary Clinton and probably others. (Hey, it’s been a while since we’ve watched it.) A pretaped Larry David pops up with his Bernie Sanders, and what is most likely archival footage allows Jason Sudeikis’s Joe Biden to make a split-second, not-so-triumphant return. They mention Elizabeth Warren at some point? Somebody probably plays her. It’d make sense.
Yeah, it’s SNL, doing politics. People eat that stuff up, no matter how weak or repetitive or dense or unfunny it is. And this is all four at once, so you know it’s a hit.
I know there’s some weight to the “equal opportunity offender” tag in comedy circles, but if you’re going to do political satire as regularly as SNL does, it’s pretty crucial to have a recognizable point of view. That doesn’t mean having a bias in favor of “one side” of our eternal two-party system, but at least having a clearly defined ethos underpinning everything, even one as vague as Jon Stewart’s anti-bullshit stance on The Daily Show. SNL’s only guiding belief when it comes to political satire seems to be that wigs and wacky voices are funny. So here’s a video full of wigs and wacky voices. Sure, it knocks the Democrats for sticking with a pack of leaders who have proven themselves to be unpopular on the national stage, who struggled to marshal public sentiment against George W. Bush, lost that support under Obama, and have so far proven ineffectual at best against Trump, but then SNL also regularly mocks the politics of Sanders, which is the only real alternative to mainstream Democratic ideology to have gained any traction with the larger liberal base in America (and, really, to have resonated with voters outside of that base, too.) By reducing all politics to simple caricatures and focusing more on the show’s own fictional constructs instead of actual personalities or issues, SNL basically guarantees that its political satire will remain toothless and stale, no matter how many headlines they get for Baldwin’s Trump.
So, uh, check it out!