Sunday, October 21, 2018

No Thank You, Saturday Night Live

Six days ago, Bill Carter, a media analyst for CNN, noted that the Saturday Night Live takedown of Brett Kavanaugh starring Mat Damon failed to prevent Kavanaugh's approval because of its audience. Most of the program's viewers are on the left and already opposed to Kavanaugh and

Nothing SNL does is going to break through the counter-media of Fox News, where the prevailing entertainment culture is considered prejudiced and exclusionary, and so, dismissible. The laughs are impossible to hear over the ongoing dissonance.

Point well-taken, though there are two additional reasons:despite a credible job by Damon, the skit wasn't particularly funny, and Senator Collins had her mind made up at the jump.

Implicit in Carter's analysis is an assumption that the Saturday Night classic is scrupulously left-wing, and hence pro-Democratic.

But notwithstanding the political preferences of the actors, SNL did not damage candidate Donald Trump's (political) health. Recently, The Hill reported

Former “Saturday Night Live” actor Taran Killam said the show’s creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels told the cast to tone down criticism of then-GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump and find ways to “make him likable.”

Killam was included on an episode of the “I Was There Too” podcast released Tuesday to discuss what it was like on the “SNL” set before the 2016 presidential election.

The comedian, who played Trump on the show before his departure in August of 2016, said that Michaels was “so specific” about what the NBC cast could say about Trump.

He recalled Michaels telling the cast not to “vilify him.”

“He’s like any New York taxi driver ... He just says whatever it is he’s thinking,” Killam recalled Michaels saying. “You have to find a way in that makes him likable.”

Trump was brought in as a guest host for the show in 2015, before the Republican primaries.

“One of the things I do respect about Lorne is he is a very good host to his guests,” Killam said on the podcast....

“I don't necessarily put so much weight into [the idea of] Trump hosting ‘SNL’ helping him become president, but there's definitely something where it normalizes him and it makes it OK for him to be part of the conversation,” Killam told NPR in the interview.

(The video below is from one year ago, with emphasis not on making Trump likable but on giving him the opportunity to host one program.)

Back in September, 2006, when we hoped Saturday Night Live would help destroy Trump as it did Sarah Palin, Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri observed

Saturday Night Live’ will certainly matter from now until the election a great deal.

“It’s among the things I can’t control,” Palmieri said with a hearty laugh. “‘Saturday Night Live’ — among the things I can’t control.”

That turned out to be quite prescient because Lorne Michaels was the only one who could control Saturday Night Live. He did, and with his assistance we got President Donald J. Trump.

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