Saturday, February 18, 2017

Saturday Morning Live


It isn’t easy to laugh when the U.S. president confuses his executive power with the divine right of kings in 17th century England and France but thanks to Saturday Night Live it is possible. In "History of the World: Part 1" Mel Brooks says "It's good to be the king" and it certainly was for monarchs in ye olden days as they didn't answer to anyone on the planet earth.
Most of us with a television and a sense of humor have seen the SNL sketches with Alec Baldwin’s ongoing devastating and pitch perfect impression of the president, and Melissa McCarthy’s brilliant impersonation of press secretary Sean Spicer where she focuses more on Spicer’s anger management issues than his personal arrogance. The show’s parody of “Fatal Attraction” where Kate McKinnon plays the movie’s bunny-boiling psycho, and also Beck Bennett’s portrayal of Jake Tapper, was criticized by some as too mean. Humorists laugh at themselves but satirists laugh at others. Satire is often mean, and political satire can be especially mean. Recalling President Truman’s classic line, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen,” I had no problem with the skit’s meanness but I did have a problem with its attempt to make threatening someone with a knife funny. Still, the very end of the skit where the Conway character dies, and then reanimates Frankenstein style, was hilarious.
Sometimes a sketch can be too true to be too funny as in the SNL People’s Court sketch where Cecily Strong, playing a Judge scolds the president played by Baldwin, “You’re doing too much, okay? I want one day without a CNN alert that scares the hell out of me!” Since the election, I wake up each morning thinking Who is the president going to harm today?
Every time the president obsessed about the missing people (missing because they didn’t actually exist) in the photograph of the inauguration day crowd, I thought of the scene from “The Caine Mutiny” when poor Captain Queeg goes bat shit crazy right before our eyes about those damn missing strawberries. Watching the president’s last press conference, scenes from two other movies occurred to me. The Scarecrow in "The Wizard of Oz" doing a happy dance and singing “If I Only Had a Brain,” and those famous words of Blanche DuBois in "A Streetcar Named Desire" as she was escorted to the funny farm, “I have always been dependent on the kindness of journalists.”