It’s hard to satirize a US presidential campaign that already has taken such a sharp turn into the absurd, but Saturday Night Live keeps trying.
On Oct. 15, the NBC comedy show’s cold open once again featured cast regular Kate McKinnon’s masterful impersonation of Hillary Clinton, and Alec Baldwin’s almost-too-on-the-nose Donald Trump. The setting: the second presidential debate, the one where the two candidates seemed to keep circling one another, and where undecided voter Ken Bone made the internet temporarily lose its collective mind.
There were a handful of funny moments in the sketch—namely Trump’s insistence that the women who’ve accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault “need to be heard” while the women who’ve accused him of sexual assault “need to shut the hell up,” and Clinton’s perfect unflappability at learning Trump had brought her husband’s accusers to the debate (“I’m made of steel. This is nothing. Hi, girls!”).
But the line of the night went to cast member Vanessa Bayer, who turned up later in the program in the character of Laura Parsons, a precocious child star invited to offer a kid’s perspective on the news during the show’s “Weekend Update” segment. Among her observations of the fallout from a leaked video of Donald Trump and a host of Access Hollywood: “Billy Bush said bad things, and my mom says he might get $10 million … from this network!”
There also was a music video parody of Beyonce’s “Sorry,” featuring five of the women in Trump’s life—and their warning to Trump that without them, “you’d just be that guy with the weird hair.” Episode host Emily Blunt stood in as Ivanka Trump, and regular SNL cast members filled the roles of Melania and Tiffany Trump, Apprentice star Omarosa, and Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway.
It was a solid effort by all, but as with most of the attempts to satirize the final stretch of the race, it mainly served as a reminder that lately, this race essentially has been satirizing itself.