Remember when “Saturday Night Live” had a field day mocking President Bill Clinton?
The sketch show taunted the former president’s appetites … preferably his sexual hunger. It didn’t matter that Clinton was a Democrat.
(NOTE: This is hard to watch in our #MeToo era)
Today, “SNL” won’t go near Democratic targets. When they do, it’s sparingly at best. Every comic gun they possess is aimed at President Donald Trump. And people, from former cast members to liberal news outlets, are starting to notice.
“SNL” alum Rob Schneider made waves recently by saying the show’s liberal crusade is hurting the laughs. Comedy demands empathy and surprise, two elements in short supply on “SNL” circa 2018.
“The fun of ‘Saturday Night Live’ was always you never knew which way they leaned politically,” he told the Daily News. “You kind of assumed they would lean more left and liberal, but now the cat’s out of the bag they are completely against Trump, which I think makes it less interesting because you know the direction the piece is going.”
Schneider added “SNL” player Alec Baldwin’s take on President Trump is another problem.
“To me, the genius of Dana Carvey was Dana always had empathy for the people he played, and Alec Baldwin has nothing but a fuming, seething anger toward the person he plays.”
Now, the left-leaning Vice.com is doubling down on Schneider’s comments.
SNL, I come as a friend: Your cold opens are terrible, cringeworthy pieces of self-satisfied liberal propaganda that are sometimes so bad they seem like parodies of themselves…
The show has shifted to the point where its politics are indistinguishable from the Democratic Party’s….
If it wanted to wade into edgier waters, it could make some jokes about free speech on campus. SNL actually has done some recent tweaking of the left—”Girl at a Bar” stands out for its evisceration of male feminists—but most of its political material winds up in the cold opens, and the cold opens are nothing but anti-Trump vitriol all the time.
This is from a liberal scribe, mind you.
“SNL” is in its 43rd year, and that alone is a monumental achievement. Television remain an uber-competitive world where surviving to season two is a major accomplishment.
Toward that end, here are seven ways “SNL” can bounce back from its current direction.
A Full Apology
It’s time. The show’s creators have insisted for years that it doesn’t have a political bias. That’s been a laughable claim ever since President Barack Obama took the oath of office. Let Lorne Michaels, the show’s driving force, hit the publicity circuit with an orchestrated mea culpa. This longtime “SNL” fan would give the show a second chance upon hearing that.
The Cold Open Goeth
Yes, it’s an essential part of the show. So was David Letterman’s Top 10 list. After a while everything goes stale. Why not open the show in a different way? A blistering monologue? A killer faux commercial? Anything other than riffing on what the show’s scribes think is the hottest news element of the week? It’s time to shake the “SNL” etch-a-sketch and see what happens.
Follow These Conservatives on Twitter
The current team of “SNL” writers are often very good at what they do. They just need some ideological diversity. If they can’t think of any way to tweak liberals, read the following Twitter accounts: @redsteeze … @BenShapiro … @AndrewKlavan … @iowahawkblog … @derekahunter.
Hiring right-leaning writers would help too, of course. Checking out the aforementioned accounts will not only give writers a sense of what the “other” half of the country is thinking, it’ll inspire a skit or two. Maybe much more.
Lose Alec, Bring Back Darrell as Trump
Alec Baldwin epitomizes everything wrong with “SNL” today. His hate for Trump, as Schneider says, stains his shtick. Let him go and bring back Darrell Hammond. The “SNL” alum does a killer Trump and brings oodles of goodwill to the show. He’s a legend, a crackerjack performer and an impressionist with few equals.
Just the (Fake) News
If you watch “Weekend Update” these days you know what to expect. A watered down version of what you watch on Kimmel, Colbert and co. That is, a rehash of the week’s headlines from a decidedly left-of-center perspective.
Who needs that after a week of Kimmel, Colbert and co.?
RELATED: Did Black Comics Fail Obama?
Turn Weekend Update into a compelling combination of satire and pure funny. Mock the way journalists ply their trade these days (expertly done by Ed Helms on Comedy Central) while presenting gags in a bipartisan fashion.
No More Homages
A bad “SNL” sketch, and they are legion, is a cringe-worthy affair. At least it’s a noble effort. Not every comic inspiration leads to gold. And the show’s 90 minute running time demands to be filled. These fizzled moments are forgivable.
What’s not? The show’s two most embarrassing moments in its illustrious history. “SNL” paid homage to Hillary Clinton’s second presidential campaign fail with a rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”
A “To Sir, With Love” cover honoring President Obama as he left the Oval Office for the last time. A show dedicated to skewering presidents fawned over a leader they barely touched for eight years. Insufferable hardly describes it.
Stop Calling Viewers Racist
This one’s simple. Don’t slam your audience. Plenty of President Trump supporters grew up watching “SNL.” They might keep doing so if the Not Ready for Prime Time Players didn’t insult them in the coldest way possible.
This sketch is a prime example, but it’s hardly the only one.