The show that reaps rewards on the back of Trump is scorched by former cast member Norm MacDonald.
Like many in the quasi-political entertainment circles, Saturday Night Live enjoyed a surge in popularity this past season by using the Trump administration as a regular source for material. Numerous skits and key guest appearances led to a significant rise in ratings, reaping some audience figures the show has not experienced in years.
However that came primarily as a result of catering to distraught fans from the left, and not from providing trenchant satire. The comedy and content of most programs was, to put it charitably, sleeight. And this is something that was not lost on former host of SNL’s Weekend Update segment, comedian Norm MacDonald.
During an interview with The Daily Beast Norm did not hold back on how the program addressed the new President. “I think they’re playing into Trump’s hands, says the comedian. Because if you satirize someone, or mock them, you’re trivializing any danger that they might be. When probed in general on whether he watched the show this season he instantly brought up the widely mocked show opening immediately following the election. Cast member Kate McKinnon sat at a piano adorned as Hillary and mawkishly sang Hallelujah.
Oh yeah, yeah. Oh my god, did you see that? And this wasn’t even a tragedy; just a guy got elected… Kate McKinnon said, “I’m going to get through this and so are you. [The actual quote was, “I’m not giving up, and neither should you.] I was like, what the f*** are we getting through? That a man was duly elected president? What are you, crazy?
Not just leaving things there MacDonald continued on, in the trademark style of his wit.
And I was like, well I can get through that. I can get through anything. I got through my own father’s death. You think I can’t get through a man getting elected president of the United States? It was so absurd that, for some reason, she was the one that was supposed to let me know that it’s alright to go on. Go on as if nothing happened. Nothing exploded.
I provided weekly coverage of SNL this season and what they seemed most content with was merely coming up with any content at all, so long as it involved Trump. The show was rewarded with viewership, so there was no motivation to stretch or test themselves. Need to have a cold open? Just repeat things spoken by The President during the week, verbatim. Not enough good material from the White House? Just cobble together a skit with Trump addressing aliens using boilerplate talking points as punchlines.
The end result was a show many regarded as a must-see event, however very little offered was memorable. The biggest takeaway from the season became guest Melissa McCarthy’s portrayal of Sean Spicer, not any acerbically created commentary on the administration and its policies.
MacDonald was actually hitting the mark when he was asked about Jimmy Fallon absorbing a significant amount of blowback for the night he hosted Donald Trump on “The Tonight Show”. (Norm was a guest that evening.)
I don’t how you blame Fallon when every media outlet in the world had Trump on, and treated him with kid gloves until it was too late. But I thought it was absurd.
Nailed it. As I pointed out in May – Fallon is still absorbing his punishment, for the sins of the media.