“This whole election has been so mean”: Political satire gets serious on “Saturday Night Live”

United in satire.
United in satire.
Image: Screenshot/YouTube
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

The comedians Kate McKinnon and Alec Baldwin, portraying Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live, were just as uncanny and funny as they have been in previous weeks, but with the US presidential election just days away, they ended the show’s opening skit tonight (Nov. 5) on an uncharacteristically serious and sincere note.

“I’m sorry Kate, I just hate yelling all this stuff at you like this,” Baldwin said, breaking character.

“Yeah, I know, right?” McKinnon replied. “This whole election has been so mean.”

“I mean, I just feel gross all the time,” Baldwin said. “Don’t you guys feel gross all the time about this?”

The two then joined hands and decamped to Times Square where they frolicked and hugged New Yorkers to a soundtrack of Arcade Fire’s “Wake Up.”

“Now it’s time to get out there and vote,” Baldwin said, back at the SNL studio. “None of this will have mattered if you don’t vote.”

“And we can’t tell you who to vote for,” McKinnon added, “but on Tuesday, we all get to choose what kind of country we want to live in.”

The skit itself focused on the controversial announcement last week by FBI Director James Comey that the agency had discovered a trove of emails from Clinton while she was secretary of state—which took a bite out of Clinton’s lead over Trump. “My fave part was when I lost that big huge lead I had,” McKinnon’s Clinton character deadpans when asked by the news anchor about her week.

Over the course of the sketch, the Baldwin Trump character casually kisses an FBI agent, Vladimir Putin, and a Ku Klux Klan member, but in each case the TV news interviewer shrugs it off as a minor story and returns to the topic of Clinton’s emails, provoking some epic silent screams from McKinnon’s Clinton.

The rest of the show, hosted by the British actor Benedict Cumberbatch and featuring Solange Knowles as the musical act, steered mostly clear of politics. It featured cameos from former cast members Dana Carvey (as the “church lady”) and Bill Murray, as well as three players from the Chicago Cubs, fresh from their World Series championship.