By Meghan Aslin
Do we need more cowbell or more respect?
“Saturday Night Live,” the beloved weekly late-night NBC sketch show with an annually changing central cast of comedians and a famous weekly guest host, premiered on October 11, 1975, stealing the hearts of millions. As an adult audience-oriented comedy show, offensive and vulgar remarks are bound to be made, but it seems that they are more present than ever. “SNL” is notoriously known for its parodies of both controversial and seemingly mundane situations in politics. Making light of serious and scary subjects by bringing millions together through laughter is the initial goal, and an admirable one at that; however, where is the line between jokes and seriously offensive punchlines?
I, very passionate about this quirky sketch show, am going to give you my opinion. Readers beware: I am politically biased and enjoy thinking of myself as a comedy snob.
Growing up, my parents forced me to watch “SNL.” It’s been one of my favorite TV shows for as long as I can remember and is practically the only reason why my parents still pay a cable bill. Throughout my watching history, snide remarks towards politicians and celebrity figures have always existed. For any big-shot star rising in the media, attention on “SNL” should be expected. No matter if the subject is seemingly impenetrable, the writers and cast will find a way to make a sketch, or at least a cheeky one-liner, out of it. Some even consider “making it big” as becoming the victim of a joke on “Saturday Night Live,” while others, such as President Trump, think otherwise.
This seems to be where the public is torn. We should be grateful to live in a country where poking fun at authority figures is acceptable, but do the repetitive tendencies of “SNL” victimizing Mr. Trump cross a line? My opinion is yes. I disagree with Mr. Trump on many of his policies, but I have a problem with the extremely repetitive and disrespectful digs made against him. I am aware that the geographical location of the show, New York City, greatly affects its material because it is in a highly liberal majority area, but I do not think that is an excuse to solely focus on a singular or small pool of conservative and Republican figures. In fact, to me, the performances of Hillary Clinton and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, by Kate McKinnon and Melissa Villaseñor respectively, are far superior to that of Donald Trump by Alec Baldwin.
As much as we’d wish to blame one “side” or the other, this is simply more complex than one victim and one antagonist. As a comedy show in itself, “SNL” needs to do a better job of creating more diversity within its sketches. After all, they are professional performers and should not be depending on the same jokes time and time again. On the other hand, though, President Trump could put forth the effort not to make decisions, comments, or tweets that may cause constant jokes. Both Mr. Trump and the creators and actors of “SNL” need to take a seat. There are many amusing topics going on in today’s world that could use a little joke, besides politics, that would happily please the majority of viewers. Entertainment is supposed to bring people together, not repeatedly tear people and groups down.