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Home » Opinion: Why is “SNL” so funny again? Less Trump

Opinion: Why is “SNL” so funny again? Less Trump

Bowen Yang as the iceberg that sank the Titanic, left, and Colin Jost anchored during Weekend Upgrade "Saturday Night Live"  April 10, 2021 in New York.

Since then, I have watched most of the episodes. Not all of it, of course, because like most SNL viewers, I found some periods of its mostly brilliant storyline more engaging (as in, funnier) than others.

I’ve never held the fallout periods against the show, because the show’s creative master, Lorraine Michaels, somehow always manages to find a way back to relevance and inspired comedy. (If you can’t, you won’t be in the air for about 50 years).

That’s not the kind of ratings “SNL” has been getting in recent years, when critics of the program have criticized the status quo creatively.

So what changed?

The most obvious answer is that we are not in the middle of a presidential race. “SNL” has always thrived on political satire. Parodies of debates and other campaign moments have produced some of his most memorable sketches and slogans: Will Ferrell’s “strategy” as George Bush in 2000; “I can see Russia from my house!” Tina Fey as Sarah Palin in 2008; “Who am I? Why am I here?” How Admiral James Stockdale in 1992 from Phil Hartman.

And when Donald Trump emerged as a candidate and then president, the program received positive attention for Alec Baldwin’s very broad impression of Trump.

Bowen Yang as the iceberg that sank the Titanic, left, and Colin Jost anchored during Weekend Upgrade "Saturday Night Live"  April 10, 2021 in New York.

But, as has been the case with “SNL” in the past, expect the show to jump into every open incident that comes out of Washington, sometimes forcing creative decisions. In Trump’s case, there were many of them, many of which were so similar to the theater of the absurd that it was almost impossible to parody (drinking bleach; redrawing weather maps; paying for the Mexico wall). ).

In the last few years of Trump-centric news, “SNL” seems to be on the run looking for a new comedic victim, other than just how funny or threatening Trump can be.

It was futile for everyone in the evening to wallow in Trump’s absurdity equally, because of the need for comedy and the belief that his actions should be ridiculed.

This season has been Trump’s first permanent respite in seven years. The character does appear, but in moderation, and the impression, played by new cast member James Austin Johnson, is more of a character than a cartoon. Johnson is capturing Trump’s voice and gestures as they really are, not as cartoon performances. (Baldwin, to be fair, had a lot of fun with many of Trump’s early years sketches.)
Notably, the show also had very little Joe Biden content, although Johnson also has an expert view of him. Jim Carrey was a stellar piece of star casting, but it didn’t knock out critics.

Perhaps because of the heavy focus on politics, or because the cast hasn’t been the most memorable, Michaels has done a lot of this acrobatic casting in recent years, mostly to reclaim cast favorites. But the best seasons of “SNL” have been about the regular cast.

Late night television will never be the same
And that’s what happened this year. Some of the relatively new cast members are…

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