How to Invite Satire That Hurts


This is from Brian Stetler’s Reliable Sources daily newsletter from CNN for Sunday, October 16:

“Trump Turns on SNL

“Sunday’s funniest (?) story is about SNL and specifically about Trump’s reaction to the show. On Sunday morning, after watching the skits, he tweeted, ‘Watched Saturday Night Live hit job on me. Time to retire the boring and unfunny show. Alec Baldwin portrayal stinks. Media rigging election!’

“Lorne Michaels and Co. must have loved this tweet. A year ago, they were getting criticized for letting Trump host SNL. Back then, he was thrilled to be a part of the iconic show, calling it an ‘amazing evening.’ He even said that ‘part of the reason I’m here is that I know how to take a joke.’ And he has heaped praise on Michaels in the past. . . .


“In fairness to Trump, [the] ‘Melanianade’ digital short is the show’s harshest anti-Trump spot yet. The parody of Beyonce’s ‘Sorry’ depicts five of the women in Trump’s life fed by The Donald–Melania Trump (Cecily Strong), Ivanka Trump (Emily Blunt), Kellyanne Conway (Kate McKinnon), Omarosa (Sasheer Zamata) and Tiffany Trump (Vanessa Bayer)–and all but says Melania is going to leave him after the election. The YouTube vid has 2 million views so far. . . .

“More: SNL had its highest week three ratings since 2008 in the metered markets. . . .”


In an article for Slate, Willa Paskin offers an insightful analysis of why Baldwin’s portrayal of Trump got under his skin, whereas he seemingly enjoyed earlier send-ups of him not just on SNL but on David Letterman’s show, etc:

“What is notable about Alec Baldwin’s impression of Donald Trump, and why it presumably got under Donald Trump’s skin, is simply that it is not about Donald Trump being rich, self-obsessed, self-actualized, married to a younger woman, and unflappable. Instead, it is about all of his mistakes. Baldwin, pouting like a botched collagen patient, gives a one-word answer to the question “Would you be a good role model?”: ‘No.’ He trails off mid-sentence. He tells people to vote on November 35th. He is presented as a hypocrite about sexual assault. He’s racist and says Hillary ‘committed so many crimes, she’s basically a Black.’ He hovers behind Hillary ‘like a shark.’ Meanwhile, the sketch presumes that Trump has tanked his chances and that Hillary is going to win: she is introduced as President Clinton. What you don’t see, in this sketch, is Trump talking about his money, his hot wife, his rallies, his knowledge of the tax code.

“Baldwin’s impersonation of Trump isn’t even all that sharp; it’s just sharp enough. Compare it to Kate McKinnon’s crystalline Hillary impersonation, which never strays from the damning observation that Hillary Clinton is incapable of spontaneity or likeability. Hillary herself may have embraced this impression, but it still has bite. Baldwin has no corresponding unifying theory of the Donald. (Though here’s the obvious suggestion: he’s the man who never, ever wants anyone to stop looking at him. No wonder he was lurking behind Hillary all debate.) But there is now enough absurd and frightening material about Donald Trump that satirists can ignore the pre-existing, Trump-approved bounty of ridiculousness and focus on what gets under his skin.”

Paskin’s complete article is available at:


In case you missed the opening sketch or the “Melanianade” sketch, hee are the links:





2 thoughts on “How to Invite Satire That Hurts

  1. This is the first year that I’ve looked forward to tuning into SNL each week at least for the first half hour. The Alec Baldwin / Kate McKinnon comedy pair is brilliant.

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