SNL’s Salient Satire

By: Hannah Lynch

Over the past few weeks, female comedian Melissa McCarthy’s scathing satirical impersonation of White House press secretary Sean Spicer has ruffled some feathers–including Trump’s.

According to Politico, the mere fact that one of his staff was portrayed as feminine upset Trump, who fears that this depiction will convey gender-based weakness. While many feminists–myself included–instinctively react with fury to his offensive opinion, this controversy marks an opportunity for celebration of resistance.

Although the Huffington Post unrealistically hypothesizes that jests alone will “injure the president’s always sensitive ego, and maybe cause some behind-the-scenes drama,” they do hold real power in engaging and educating the public about political affairs.

The nobler cause of comedy is not to undermine authority, but rather, to challenge it. Long employed in this endeavor, sarcastic satire in particular pointedly highlights questionable political figures, decisions, and events. Put simply, it holds them responsible by using exaggeration and engaging humor to highlight what should not be ignored.

When powerful women push boundaries in the public sphere, like comedians and actresses do through methods like cross-dressing, they empower us all to challenge the status quo and gender norms we are expected to conform to.

Since McCarthy’s parody of Spicer went above and beyond its basic mission to entertain, SNL fans have been craving further caricature of Trump’s administration. Avid Trump enemy Rosie O’Donnell has volunteered to play Steve Bannon, and iconic LGBTQ+ community leader Ellen DeGeneres has been suggested to (ironically, of course) play Pence.

While a single SNL skit won’t overturn Trump, satire has proven to be an invaluable tool in relief, relation, and empowerment. Particularly in Trump’s sexist administration, gender-conscious comedy critically engages women in affairs we otherwise feel excluded from.