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Who Could Have Guessed Saturday Night Live Would Play a Leading Role in Resisting Trump?

[ 204 ] February 6, 2017 |

melissa-mccarthy-sean-spicer

Donald Trump reacts to Melissa McCarthy’s portrayal of Sean Spicer in the most Trump way possible.

More than being lampooned as a press secretary who makes up facts, it was Spicer’s portrayal by a woman that was most problematic in the president’s eyes, according to sources close to him. And the unflattering send-up by a female comedian was not considered helpful for Spicer’s longevity in the grueling, high-profile job, where he has struggled to strike the right balance between representing an administration that considers the media the “opposition party,” and developing a functional relationship with the press.

“Trump doesn’t like his people to look weak,” added a top Trump donor.

Trump’s uncharacteristic Twitter silence over the weekend about the “Saturday Night Live” sketch was seen internally as a sign of how uncomfortable it made the White House feel. Sources said the caricature of Spicer by McCarthy struck a nerve and was upsetting to the press secretary and to his allies, who immediately saw how damaging it could be in Trumpworld.

Since SNL has so much power, how about portraying Bannon as a puppetmaster controlling everything Trump says. Or portray Trump as a dog who Bannon pets on the head when he says something properly racist. Even better, Trump can be played by a woman, evidently the most outrageous insult ever imagined.

4 years of this. 4 years.

….Now this is a good idea.

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  1. CP says:

    Ridicule the asshole: it really gets to him.

  2. Breadbaker says:

    An African-American lesbian from Somalia would be a good choice to play Bannon.

    • sigaba says:

      I believe Ayaan Hirsi Ali is represented by CAA.

      • Chetsky says:

        Sadly, while there are many things she works for, that I applaud and even support, she’s …. kinda right-wing. Maybe not. Maybe I’m wrong. I’d love to hear I’m wrong. OTOH, if she were willing …. yeah, that’d be fantastic.

        ETA: that’d be fantastic, regardless of her position on -any- issue. B/c pushing Lord Dampnut over the edge quickly, before Preznit Bannonazi gets too much power, is that important.

        • sigaba says:

          She can drop dead for all I care, she’s a crackpot who defended Anders Breivik of all people. She just fits the profile

        • timb says:

          She’s more than a little right-wing

        • LeeEsq says:

          Ayaan Hirsi Ali makes for an interesting case study on tribal politics. There are people who grow up in the stricter versions of Protestantism, Catholicism, or Judaism and suffer immensely. They might be having a bad time at it because they are a woman, because they are LGBT, or simply because the sheer amount of discipline and denial necessary for the strict form of their religion is not for them and they don’t have the requisite amount of belief. Many of those people leave their religion when they grow up and are very bitter towards it and maybe religion in general.

          Very few liberals are going to have a problem with a gay person who grew up in a Evangelical Protestant family and now hates Evangelical Protestantism and thinks the world would be a better place if Evangelical Protestantism or even religion in general should be completely destroyed. We might think the diagnosis is wrong but that the sentiment is understandable. Same for a woman who grew up in an Ultra-Orthodox Jewish family.

          Ms. Ali had a similar experience with her religion but in her case the religion is Islam and for many liberals and leftists any criticism on Islam is seen is supporting the War on Terror, Western imperialism, etc. even if it is made by a person who grew up Muslim and experienced Islam’s problematic side personally.

          • Ronan says:

            I agree, to a certain degree. But we’re at a stage where there isn’t going to be any non dumb (on left or right) discussion about Islam, so better to hope the whole debate just peters out soon. (In fairness the problem with Ali was she did , afaicr, support a lot of the excesses of the WOT, and her rhetoric and analysis was often overly simplistic. Although you can forgive her to some extent, I think, considering her biography(including being driven out of holland through threat of assassination) Her positions have actually seemed to moderate a bit recently, so perhaps she’s moving on from her simple binaries in the past)

            • MacK says:

              It’s curious that Islamic fundamentalists were originally supported by the US right, because they saw any religious fundamentalism as hostile to the left. Bizzarely the Israelis helped finance and create Hamas because they saw it as likely to be less nationalist and likely to undermine the secular PLO.

              The left originally was uncomfortable with overt religiosity and with religious fundamentalism in general – but now we seem to make an exception for Islam? Why?

              • Aimai says:

                Oh, nonsense. We never stopped criticizing fundamentalist Islam.

                • John F says:

                  This, I see right wingers claim all the time that lefties are opposed to religiosity EXCEPT for Islamic Fundamentalism, it’s not true, I’ve never met a single liberal who wasn’t horrified by Islamic Fundamentalism –

                  When a liberal objects to classifying every single Muslim (over a billion you know) as being the same as Isis/Al Qaeda, they are not “supporting” Islamic Fundamentalism.

                  When a liberal points out that adherents of other, non-Islamic, religions have from time to time engaged in religious violence, that is not the same thing as apologizing for Boko Haram.

                  The issue isn’t that liberals support Islam- as a rule they do not- the issue is that the right wants to falsely classify any opposition to violent crusade against all Muslims as being pro terrorist.

              • Rob in CT says:

                Generally speaking, we get concerned when people start trying to scapegoat a small minority (Muslims are, what, 1% of the US population) with alternative fact fearmongering (e.g., Sharia law is comin’ for ya!).

                This does not mean fundamentalist Islam is great. Fundamentalism sucks. The primary difference between fundie Muslims and fundie Christians for me is that one group wields a great deal of power in my country and the other does not. That power differential is critically important. Similarly, I don’t get worked up about ultra-orthodox Jews, though I’m not exactly a fan of their views either. They’re simply not a political threat.

                If/when the skeery Muslims actually became politically powerful enough to push harmful policy the way our beloved, salt of the earth, born-again evangelicals are, I’ll be a lot more concerned.

                • leftwingfox says:

                  Agreed with this completely.

                • Ronan says:

                  I dont know how far this goes, tbh. There’s no need to give the Rights endless hyperbole any credence to also accept that there does seem to be some problems (with different social values, political violence, radicalization, assimilation, sectarianism etc) in *some* Muslim communities.
                  ‘Power’ doesnt just work on one level, from the dominant community towards subordinate classes, but works within subordinate groups aswell. There are battles within these communities over these topics, and the lefts (imo) stance is too often to accept the most belligerent and retrograde elements as needing mollycoddling, rather than supporting more vociferously the reformers and more liberally minded. (this doesnt apply to Ali, who really doesnt fall in this category)

                • Rob in CT says:

                  ‘Power’ doesnt just work on one level, from the dominant community towards subordinate classes, but works within subordinate groups aswell. There are battles within these communities over these topics, and the lefts (imo) stance is too often to accept the most belligerent and retrograde elements as needing mollycoddling

                  Really? Who does this? Do you have an example?

                • Ronan says:

                  I’ll get back with examples later when not at work

                • LeeEsq says:

                  Rob, Ronan might be referring to events in the UK. From my reading, many fundamentalist Imams managed to wiggle themselves into the position of community leaders and liaisons with the British government even though their sermons could qualify as hate speech against Jews, LGBT people, etc. under British law. Any attempt to point this out seems to meet with a smack down.

                  At least in a Europe, there seems to be a tendency to treat fundamentalist Imams as being more authentic voices of their communities and perceiving actual liberals and secularists as colonial stooges.

                • Ronan says:

                  That’s part of it(though I wouldn’t necessarily blame govt policy on ‘the left’)
                  I’ll get back with a longer comment later, though this article by Adam Shatz

                  https://www.thenation.com/article/writers-or-missionaries/

                  covers some of the ground.

                • John F says:

                  The primary difference between fundie Muslims and fundie Christians for me is that one group wields a great deal of power in my country and the other does not. That power differential is critically important. Similarly, I don’t get worked up about ultra-orthodox Jews, though I’m not exactly a fan of their views either. They’re simply not a political threat.

                  In some neighborhoods, towns in NY, some ultra-orthodox Jewish groups are a significant political “threat”

                  I too see fundie Christianity as a bigger issue to me, because fundie Christianity has power here, whereas fundie Islam is somewhere between being a real threat here and merely being a convenient closet dwelling bogeyman.

                  OTOH some fundie Islam sects have embraced a culture of death that’s truly scary.

              • tsam says:

                You could probably find some on the left that are stupid enough to think that reactionary fundamentalism in one or all religions is normal and OK. By and large, however, (at least speaking for myself), religious zealotry is and should be considered an enemy of human rights and should be stomped out or at least put on a tight choke chain wherever possible.

              • Emily68 says:

                Way back, the US supported the Taliban because they were fighting the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

          • aturner339 says:

            I just find this kind of talk well beyond the bounds of the supportable. The left has no particular issue with “criticism of Islam.” It does have a blanket postion against bigotry.

            • LeeEsq says:

              My observations lead me to believe that because of the current political situation that the line between criticizing Islam and bigotry gets crossed rather easily in the minds of many people compared to the criticism of other religions.

            • shawn k says:

              True. And most right wing “critics” of Islam are profoundly ignorant of the religion and its practice, beliefs and history. 15 + years after Sept 11 and they haven’t read a standard intro (by, say, Esposito) or read the Qu’ran. I mean, some poor Political Science prof got fired from an Evangelic College (if I have my facts right) for the banal observation that Islam worships the same God as Christianity.

              What’s offered is combination of racist stereotypes and pig ignorance and Ali makes it easier for them to do so by saying “I know, I was there”.

              • tsam says:

                Well, that’s because their hatred of it is ideological and competitive, and has little to do with security. The security part is basically a fig leaf for their religious objections.

                That’s not to say that there aren’t safety concerns. It IS reactionary, right wing Islamic fundamentalists who commit terrorism. The problem is that the right REALLY wants these guys to represent the whole religion.

              • Richard Gadsden says:

                Quite a few of them fail to come up with any better understanding than Jack Chick.

          • witlesschum says:

            Nothing good comes of being married to Niall Ferguson, is all I know.

          • humanoid.panda says:

            The problem with what Lee is saying is simple: the ex-evangelicals who hate evangelicals and would eradicate evangelicalism if they could exist, but they have no power and no political lobby to use them as battering ram against their co-religionists. Ali’s case is very different. Context matters.

    • Brad Nailer says:

      I thought the choice of using a skeleton person to play him was wrong. He probably liked that depiction.

  3. Crusty says:

    How about Trump played by Leslie Jones. Just slap a hideous yellowish, greenish wig on her. She doesn’t have to do a Trump voice or anything, just be leslie jones. But as a dopey president.

  4. Todd says:

    Calls should being made right now for an upcoming Bannon sketch. Elliott Gould? Eddie Murphy? Some actor who is a direct descendant of William T. Sherman?

  5. Crusty says:

    I don’t know if y’all watched the open, but bannon was portrayed as a skeleton/skeletor grim reaper type. I thought it was pretty good, though he probably liked it too. It was smarter than simply going after his horrendous looks.

    • royko says:

      I thought it was funny, but like you said, he probably liked it too, which takes away from it.

      I did like Bannon putting Trump behind the little desk. Not sure if it’ll get to Trump, but it’s a start.

      Maybe they should give Baldwin a break (though he’s been great) and have Rosie O’Donnell portray Trump. If that doesn’t make him blow a gasket, I don’t know what will.

  6. Shakezula says:

    Sources said the caricature of Spicer by McCarthy struck a nerve and was upsetting to the press secretary and to his allies

    A favorite slogan of tRump supporters comes to mind: Fuck your feelings.

  7. Barry Freed says:

    More than being lampooned as a press secretary who makes up facts, it was Spicer’s portrayal by a woman that was most problematic in the president’s eyes,

    Please can we get Meryl Streep to play President Bannon on the next SNL?

  8. Murc says:

    I’m gonna be honest: was slightly uncomfortable by this.

    It isn’t nearly as bad as the howling transmisogyny of the Will Farrell as Janet Reno ’90s era SNL, but the fact that part of the joke was very clearly “look, a MAN is being played by a WOMAN” and that it was intended as a kind of insult doesn’t quite sit right with me.

    • efgoldman says:

      it was intended as a kind of insult doesn’t quite sit right with me.

      Tone policing SNL? Really?

      • Murc says:

        … yes? SNL has done some problematic shit in the past and will in the future, and that’s something worthy of talking about?

        • catbirdman says:

          Men have been playing women for cheap larfs forever. Turning the tables to such great effect doesn’t strike me as a sexist move at all — I thought it was awesome. That the troglodyte Trumpies apparently consider a man being pwned by a woman to be a mortal wound only adds to the awesomeness, IMO.

      • veleda_k says:

        I’m all for calling out tone policing, but whether or not I agree with Murc (I have no idea; I haven’t seen the sketch yet), saying “This feels transphobic” is not tone policing.)

        • Dilan Esper says:

          “Tone policing” is one of those Internet concepts that is way overused.

          Here’s a suggestion that nobody will follow, but I will make it anyway. Don’t use Internet buzzwords. Explain your arguments. If there is something wrong with what Murc said about SNL, identify it specifically and argue against it.

          These buzzwords have contested meanings, often don’t apply the way they are used, are sometimes rendered meaningless by overuse, and don’t really constitute arguments. Explaining arguments leads to clearer thinking and better arguments– it also has a better chance of persuading Murc, if the point does indeed have merit.

    • kped says:

      I don’t think that’s what they did at all. It was “Hey, we have the amazing Melissa McCarthy, she is fantastic at playing rude jerks, let’s get her to play Spicer!” I really don’t think for a second it was “lol, she’s a girl, that will make them mad”.

      Honestly…this is the PC stuff that does kind of make me roll my eyes, everything has to be something else, it can’t just be what it is – a super talented performer knocking it out of the park.

      Truthfully, I want someone new to play Trump in these things. They haven’t found their real voice, like Ferral playing W, or Fey playing Palin, or Hartman’s Clinton. Baldwin’s Trump is more a weird scrunched up face that doesn’t really capture the pathetic nature of Trump.

      • jim, some guy in iowa says:

        to me the great thing she does is convey that sense of Spicer being a kid playing a grown up in a play

      • liberal says:

        …a super talented performer knocking it out of the park.

        Agreed. She was teh awesome.

      • DamnYankees says:

        Yes. Baldwin lacks the defensive hypersensitivity whihc defines trump.

      • Thirtyish says:

        Honestly…this is the PC stuff that does kind of make me roll my eyes, everything has to be something else, it can’t just be what it is – a super talented performer knocking it out of the park.

        THIS.

        • Captain Oblivious says:

          Linda Hunt: “The Year of Living Dangerously”
          Jaye Davidson: “The Crying Game”
          Julie Andrews; “Victor Victoria”
          Terence Stamp: “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”
          Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon: “Some Like it Hot”
          Dustin Hoffman: “Tootsie”

          • bender says:

            I thought Julie Andrews was terribly miscast in the movie. She wasn’t convincing for a moment as someone who could pass as a man. I don’t think it was her fault. I think it was a deliberate directorial choice because they didn’t trust the audience to be comfortable seeing an actress who could actually pass. I think they went for an easy reassuring message that reinforces heterosexuality; “See, woman and men really are very different.”

            Drag queens go to a lot of trouble to be exaggeratedly feminine, but the reverse is dead easy for women who don’t have high pitched voices and large bosoms. When I was younger, all it took was going out in public in loose fitting clothing, no makeup and standing up straight and holding my space; I was frequently being read as a man and addressed as a man by shop clerks and people on the street. Reading female is what takes extra effort.

            You could add “Stage Beauty” to your list.

            • Karen24 says:

              The part about “holding your space” is so key. I have been addressed as “sir” with a complete lack of irony when I was standing in front of the speaker, wearing a dress, heels, jewelry, and long curly hair. I have a low pitched voice and don’t cower. That is quite enough to be read as male.

              • Thom says:

                That is really interesting. How did you respond (or how have you responded)?

                • bender says:

                  I didn’t correct the speaker, because it doesn’t matter to me unless I’m heading to a bathroom and they are blocking the door. If the transaction or conversation went on for more than a minute, the other person usually noticed their mistake and corrected themselves. Sometimes they were embarrassed but it doesn’t embarrass me. The people least likely to notice their mistake were shop assistants who were immigrants from Asian countries.

          • MAJeff says:

            Cherubino in Nozze di Figaro
            Walter in La Wally
            Siebel in Faust
            Julius Caesar in Giulio Cesare
            Cherubin in Cherubin
            Nicklausse in Les contes d’Hoffmann
            The Composer in Ariadne auf Naxos

          • tsam says:

            I FIND YOUR LACK OF MRS DOUBTFIRE DISTURBING

      • DonN says:

        Using PC non-ironically makes me roll my eyes.

        I do agree with the sentiment that it was just a talented performer hammering it.

        Don N.

        • rhino says:

          If you don’t think PC is an actual thing, you haven’t been paying attention.

          It’s kind of like the concept of ‘mansplaining’. It’s a real thing, but then there are also plenty of people who just use it to shut down any disagreement that comes from a man.

          All of these concepts get abused, to greater or lesser degree, by assholes attempting to shut down legitimate dissent.

          • kped says:

            Exactly. There is a real PC that is absolutely needed, like being PC has pretty well ended awful stuff like “retard” or various ethnic stereotypes from mass media, which is fantastic.

            But then there is the over the top chin scratching trying to find out if every single thing is “problematic” in some way, such that even something like this, a hilarious comedy routine that in now way is sexist becomes something it isn’t, and it’s this “PC” that annoys me.

            • Dilan Esper says:

              I think PC is pretty problematic generally when applied to comedy.

              There’s a whole bunch of classic comedy- early Chris Rock routines, Dean Martin celebrity roasts, etc.- which is really funny but which would be eviscerated by well-meaning people on the Internet now.

              The reality is most of the truly problematic stuff simply won’t come off as funny to modern ears. You can’t get up on stage and joke about hitting your wife anymore (the way the Ralph Kramden character always did on the Honeymooners), because people won’t laugh at that anymore. But a lot of edgy, un-PC stuff still is funny (such as the Chris Rock video giving advice to black people on how to avoid getting beat up by the police) despite being offensive. (And yes, despite punching down. Plenty of good comedy punches down as well as up.)

              The standards are simply different in comedy. Comedy has to reach the dark recesses of the soul and bring them up so we can laugh at them, and you can’t do that if the only concern is not causing offense to anyone.

              • jim, some guy in iowa says:

                a Chris Rock routine about giving black people advice on how to avoid getting beat up by the cops is “punching down”?

                I may as well also note it can’t be a coincidence most people who are okay with punching down aren’t terribly likely to be punched down on themselves

                • rhino says:

                  When a rich black man mocks poor black men, he can be accused of punching down, yes.

                  Punching down is fine. The question is whether the punched deserve the punching.

                  That’s why punching Nazis is not only fun, but hilarious.

                • Dilan Esper says:

                  It’s also true that most of the people complaining about punching down aren’t poor single mothers in the inner cities either. They tend to be well off people at selective colleges and reasonably well off internet users.

                  Which is why ad hominems are of limited use here.

                • jim, some guy in iowa says:

                  (laughing) ah, Dilan, what you don’t get would fill *oceans*

              • John F says:

                (the way the Ralph Kramden character always did on the Honeymooners)

                I read an article once about the show, where during an early dress rehearsal Audrey Meadows cringed at Jackie Gleason going into full Ralph Kramden mode, he stopped immediately, no, no, no, Alice is not afraid of Ralph, he blusters and threatens she gets CONTEMPTUOUS- if she’s afraid of him, if she cringes, it means he’s a monster and then the show is not funny.

                The folks who think Dice Clay’s stand-up was funny are the types who think the Honeymooners would have been funnier if Audrey Meadows had cringed and grovelled.

                • John Revolta says:

                  This. Both “Alice” and the audience knew full well that Ralph’s threats were sheer bullshit. The ’50s weren’t 500 years ago- not many people (I won’t say no people) were going to laugh at a 300 pound guy actually threatening to punch his wife.

                • Origami Isopod says:

                  not many people (I won’t say no people) were going to laugh at a 300 pound guy actually threatening to punch his wife.

                  The ’50s were sixty years ago, before the second wave of feminism. “Domestic violence” wasn’t a term in currency. The idea that 300-lb. men never punched their wives was patriarchal self-flattery. They did and they do.

            • JL says:

              Sometimes people say that things are racist, sexist, transphobic, etc, because they think they actually are. The fact that you don’t agree doesn’t mean that there’s any over-the-top chin scratching going on, doesn’t mean that anyone is hunting furiously for something to complain about as opposed to genuinely reacting to what they saw.

              I have not seen the sketch, so I can’t speak to that. I would point out, though, that transphobia and oppositional sexism directed at trans men, butch women, etc, genearlly doesn’t manifest in the same way that transmisogyny does, and that some of the other unfortunate things about having male comedians play women (denying women a role in an already male-dominated field) don’t apply in the other direction.

      • djw says:

        Yeah, I’m open to hearing arguments to the contrary but I’m inclined to agree with this. Suggesting the humor here is WOMAN plays MAN is really selling Melissa McCarthy short. She’s perfect for the role because he’s the kind of blowhard she’s great at portraying. If Trump and Spicer want to interpret it as an offense to their oh-so-fragile masculinities that says more about them than it does about the performance itself.

      • sigaba says:

        Hey, we have the amazing Melissa McCarthy, she is fantastic at playing rude jerks, let’s get her to play Spicer!”

        +10^(10^22)

      • AMK says:

        Hartman’s Trump was pretty good, if I remember correctly.

      • addicted44 says:

        The tone of the skit was definitely not “Oh look, Sean Spicer is a woman!”. They hardly played on the woman thing at all. It was basically “Spicer is a doofus, who will lie straight to your face. Oh, and he chews a lot of gum”.

        What’s funny though is that it did expose the Trump misogyny, because that’s the part that apparently got to him the most.

      • cpinva says:

        “Hey, we have the amazing Melissa McCarthy, she is fantastic at playing rude jerks and she’s fat, let’s get her to play Spicer!”

        there, fixed that for you. this would also be at least part of the reason for having her play Bannon.

      • Bob Loblaw Lobs Law Bomb says:

        she is fantastic at playing rude jerks….

        This. That was the meta-joke of the skit, not that she’s a woman. And the fact that she’s also a woman, and hugely famous, is the reason why all of America* now knows Sean Spicer by name and that he’s a rude, lying jerk.

        (*And seriously, before last week, how many everyday Joes could name any press secretary other than CJ Craig?)

      • Origami Isopod says:

        Honestly…this is the PC stuff that does kind of make me roll my eyes,

        I have no strong opinion one way or the other on Murc’s comment, but using the term “PC” doesn’t do your argument any favors.

    • tsam says:

      Seems like your reservation hinges on intent, right? I Had this cringe when John Goodman played Linda Tripp, and I feel like the intent there was to make fun of her looks. But I’m not sure I see it here.

      • kped says:

        Yes, I can absolutely agree in that situation, where the intent is to insult like that, but nowhere does this Spicer thing come off as “it’s a girl, so he’s a giant pussy!!!”.

        I wouldn’t be shocked if McCarthy is the one who suggested it. It really is a character she can play in her sleep.

        • tsam says:

          Right. She recycled that angry mom in This is 40, which was the funniest part of that movie–tied with the lazy, goofy employee. (Can’t remember the actress’ name)

        • Lost Left Coaster says:

          it’s a girl, so he’s a giant pussy!

          Indeed. In fact, it was the opposite of that. They were in no way mocking Spicer for being effeminate or anything like that. He’s a boiling pot of masculine blundering rage. McCarthy played him perfectly. I don’t think there is another comic on Earth who could have done a better job.

          • Chetsky says:

            boiling pot of masculine blundering rage

            This. This. So much this. Esp. the “tackling with the desk” bit.

          • PhoenixRising says:

            She was mocking that category of insecure hostile misogynist that Spicer epitomizes, not just him, and that was why it was so goddam funny.

            She was using Sean, the boy who talks tough because his dad told him not to cry, as the foil for mockery of not just him but masculinity as embodied by men being assholes.

            It was cruel, it was personal, he earned it, and I’m not surprised everyone in this WH was walking on eggshells for the day waiting to see what Trump does to humiliate Spicer as his punishment for losing a fight with a girl.

      • Murc says:

        Seems like your reservation hinges on intent, right?

        A little bit? I suppose? It’s hard for me to articulate. I’m just always a-little-to-very uncomfortable with cross-race, cross-gender casting of real, actual people. Not always; I’m pretty okay with Hamilton, for example. But even that raised my eyebrows when I first heard about it. Obviously intent and context matter a lot.

        • tsam says:

          It’s definitely a tricky, subjective line to walk.

        • The Dark God of Time says:

          I suggest you send a strongly worded letter to Lorne Michaels.

        • Aaron Morrow says:

          As an upper-class straight white liberal man, I feel like the first thing I should do in these situations is shut up and listen to what people who aren’t as privileged as me are saying; they know more than I do about these issues. It seems like many Women on the Internet are comfortable with this; therefore, I am not going to worry about it the way I typically do sexist crap.

          (OT, but I feel like this is how I deal with economic issues, too.)

      • sigaba says:

        Never judge art by intent, judge by effect.

    • Chetsky says:

      Murc, I mean this in a gentle way; I’d ask you to please reconsider. In the same sense that people say “black comedians making jokes about white people will be racist when ….” I think this is not the same as a man making fun of a (possibly trans)woman.

      To wit, when the NYSE and 51% of the boards of the S&P 500 are wholly run by women, -perhaps- (b/c we should probably wait until the percenage is higher ;-) then we can talk about how women belittling men by portraying them to comic effect, is sexist.

      OK. Now to “transmisogyny”, which I’ll address badly, b/c I sure don’t know. But nobody else seems to have mentioned it, so I gotta try, I guess. I don’t see how transmisogyny enters into it. Except insofar as Trump & his minions are both misogynists and transphobic. I mean, the reason MM’s skit got under Dampnut’s skin, wasn’t that MM (a woman) played a man. But rather, that MM (a woman) played one of -his- men so *well*. To such wild success and acclaim. So having excellent actresses and comediennes play roles of Trumpsters, again to acclaim, would likewise be a slap.

      [Just to be clear, I’m for women playing *all* the roles, b/c 100k years is fricken’ long enough to wait, but that’s another story.]

      The glee on the left isn’t b/c it’s a woman playing the role of a man. The glee is b/c THAT PORTRAYAL PISSES OFF LORD DAMPNUT.

      So the transmisogyny, I claim is there regardless of what we do. MM’s just pointing it out (as it turned out).

    • geniecoefficient says:

      it was intended as a kind of insult

      That’s 100% projection, my friend. The impression was an insult. Her gender was not.

      When you impute the insult, or even an insult, to her gender, you’re as bad as they are for feeling insulted.

    • geniecoefficient says:

      If you think the portrayal of a male subject by a woman is inherently insulting, that’s on YOU, man. I’m getting increasingly p.o.ed by this comment the more I think about it.

    • Little Chak says:

      I’m among those who really had no problem with the sketch, because it didn’t occur to me that using a woman to play Spicer was part of the insult. I saw Melissa McCarthy and immediately thought, “oh, man, she is going to nail his temperament”. That part only became funny to me in the context of Trump himself finding it to be a grave insult, which I only found out in this thread.

      I don’t like that Trump, et. al. find that part of it insulting, but as long as they are being ridiculed for being transphobic, rather than people joining in the transphobia, I don’t really have a problem with it. I say that as someone who has a lot personally invested in countering transphobia.

      All that being said, I think your reaction is perfectly reasonable given that you saw part of the joke as “haha, he’s being played by a woman”. Nor do I think it’s unreasonable to come to that conclusion.

    • Hob says:

      I’m thinking maybe you haven’t seen a lot of great drag acts. There’s definitely an extra comic note that can come from a good drag king performance, but it’s not about “this dude is more pathetic because ha ha he’s really a woman.” It’s “this female performer knows just how pathetic [or how awesome] this type of dude can be, because she’s spent lots of time observing dudes’ nonsense.” Spicer begs for this – his pugnaciousness is an eccentric variation on a familiar gender performance, an unskilled impersonation of tough guys he’s seen on TV.

      [ETA: Looks like Lost Left Coaster got to this first upthread.]

      [ps. I may be biased, I am married to a drag king.]

      • econoclast says:

        I think drag can have that effect because a drag performance can bring a conscious artficiality to it. But I don’t think that’s what happened here. McCarthy is simply the best living performer at “I am so angry I am 30 seconds away from stroking out”. She played Spicer the same way she played her angry cop in the Heat.

    • Sophia says:

      the howling transmisogyny of the Will Farrell as Janet Reno

      A cis man putting on a dress to make fun of a cis woman is not an example of transmisogyny. Ferrell’s bit was built on gender policing, something cis women deal with all the time. It’s not like being born with a vagina means no one will criticize you for doing womanhood wrong.

      I have a lot of sympathy for the struggles of trans folks, but I draw the line at the argument (advanced by some trans women) that the only penis-having people who should ever present as women are trans women. I understand why it bothers them (although I disagree with extreme conclusions of some, e.g. Matt Bomer playing a trans woman on film is what gives men permission to commit violence against trans women), but ultimately I think they’re just reinforcing gender policing norms.

    • pseudalicious says:

      I myself didn’t find the sketch transphobic*, and in fact, this is why Trump’s reaction is so laughable yet horrifying to me. Trump missed the entire joke, that Spicer is a ridiculous, n liar who will say anything to defend his boss. I nearly forgot McCarthy was a woman during it. It’s this great satire, but Trump’s mad not at the real issue… but that Spicer’s played by a woman, which makes Spicer look “weak”. It’s jaw-dropping yet utterly unsurprising.

      But I don’t think there’s anything wrong or “overly PC” (I prefer the term “Tumblry”) about Murc pointing out his discomfort or finding the sketch transphobic; I think on this blog especially, people should feel comfortable voicing something like that without a whole lot of pushback.

      *that said, I’m cis, so, my opinion isn’t worth a lot, here

  9. jim, some guy in iowa says:

    somehow I like the “Mission: Impossible” or “Charlie’s Angels” approach where Trump just sits there like a bobblehead dog while he gets his instructions from an off-camera Bannon

    • Aimai says:

      Trump as Charlie’s angel waiting for instructions from Bannon and from Putin (two different colored phones so he doesn’t get confused) in a darkened oval office, since no one can find the lights, is the way to go.

  10. gmoot says:

    Melissa McCarthy should play Trump too. Or Rosie O’Donnell, not because she’s particularly funny but because it’ll hasten along that heart attack.

  11. DamnYankees says:

    Rosie should not play bannon; she should play trump.

  12. Peterr says:

    Cast a group of 10 year olds as Trump, Priebus, Bannon, Conway, and Spicer, then give them actual quotes from each of these folks as their script.

    They sound like 10 year olds already, so why not make them look like 10 year olds to really drive the point home?

  13. Gizmo says:

    The entire Trump admin is a ‘Target-Rich’ environment for comedians. I’m sure SNL will have more material than they know what to do with. The choice now is between tears or ridicule, and ridicule actually works on this guy.

  14. Chris Mealy says:

    Cold open on Melania in bed with Putin. Now who’s the cuck?

    • Warren Terra says:

      Less insulting to Melania and more devastating to Trump (because it could be true): Melania as the genius manipulating an idiot Donald.

      • rhino says:

        Melania already married Trump, you can’t insult her further than she has already insulted herself.

        • Chetsky says:

          OTOH, c’mon, while she hasn’t exactly “done the right thing”, there -is- something sad about here, isn’t there? She’s not actively a force for evil in the world, even though she hasn’t resisted being co-opted by those forces. But isn’t it already bad enough, that she has to live in that world?

          I guess what I’m sayin’ is, “don’t kick down”. And really, who amongst us would trade places with Melania?

          [of course, the same applies to Lord Dampnut. Hard to imagine wanting to trade places with him. The thing that makes it OK to kick him (as hard and as many times as gleefully desired) is that he’s a force for evil in the world — he has agency and therefore culpability.]

          • Gizmo says:

            I used to pity her. Now I’m starting to wonder:

            Melania Cashes In

          • The Great God Pan says:

            Fuck Melania. She married a rich piece of shit for money and can take any misery that comes with it. It’s not like she comes from a deprived background and Trump was her ticket out of crushing poverty.

            Let’s not forget that she happily defended and repeated her husband’s racist Birther bullshit years ago, and last year she complained that a positive profile in GQ had been an unfair hit piece, which signalled her husband’s twisted followers to bombard the writer with anti-semitic abuse and death threats, calling her a “filthy kike” who would “look good as a lampshade.” When asked about the threats, Melania flippantly replied that the writer had “provoked them.”

            She’s not innocent and it would be impossible for anyone to kick down at her except for her husband.

            • Warren Terra says:

              I don’t give a crap about Melania. But attacking Trump by insinuating his wife is cheating on him (and with his best friend!) is lazy misogyny. It’s not attacking her, it’s attacking his inability to impose a commanding male authority on the life of his wife – his property. At best it’s questioning her love for and faithfulness to him, which isn’t really fair territory. Both of them are chock full of completely legitimate targets, and this is the avenue you choose to go down?

      • sigaba says:

        To be fair, we don’t know if Melania hasn’t slept with Putin. Wendy Deng Murdoch has. He gets around.

    • ASV says:

      No — Putin with Ivanka.

    • rhino says:

      Well, if we want to see if the secret service will storm the SNL stage and kill everyone on a president’s orders, that would be the way to find out.

      My money is on NO, so I’d pay a dollar to see it.

  15. sigaba says:

    was not considered helpful for Spicer’s longevity in the grueling, high-profile job, where he has struggled to strike the right balance between representing an administration that considers the media the “opposition party,” and developing a functional relationship with the press.

    “Balance”

  16. brewmn says:

    “Trump doesn’t like his people to look weak,” added a top Trump donor.

    This asshole clearly has no idea how he looks to a majority of the people in this country. Hell, the world.

  17. Peterr says:

    Put one of the SNL guys into character as Baghdad Bob, Saddam Hussein’s old Iraqi Information Minister, and have him interview with Bannon and Trump for the job of Tillerson’s spokesperson at the State Department.

    “I have years of experience in dealing with alternative facts and a disbelieving press corps.”

    “Looking at your relationship with Putin, you would have liked my old boss. He was a really strong leader, too.”

    SNL could easily work in a critique of Spicer’s performance as a part of the interview. “So, Bob, what would you have done differently?”

  18. Chetsky says:

    I’ve donated to various online outlets that I think are doing good reporting. I wonder: is there a way (short of subscribing to cable) to support SNL, Late Night w/Stephen Colbert?

    I guess Comedy Central is good enough I should sign up. But for the rest …. no way I’m payin’ Megyn Kelly’s salary. No way.

    Is there some way to support individual shows?

  19. JonH says:

    Jane Lynch as Michael Flynn. Lena Dunham in a cameo as Michael Flynn Jr.

  20. JonH says:

    It’s too bad Jack Elam is dead. He’d be perfect to depict Bannon, based on Elam’s character from Cannonball Run.

  21. Bootsie says:

    I laughed harder at Kenan Thompson as Mugabe than I should’ve. Largely because that is basically how Mugabe really is.

    • David Allan Poe says:

      Kenan’s Mugabe calling Trump a “white bitch” was really my favorite part, especially as it was immediately followed by Trump being banished to the kiddie desk, because I feel like that was from the heart of the writers, knowing that he would hear it and take it extremely personally, getting it across as simply and brutally as possible.

  22. Manny Kant says:

    Since SNL has so much power, how about portraying Bannon as a puppetmaster controlling everything Trump says.

    Umm…I take it you didn’t watch the cold open?

  23. MDrew says:

    So the most Trump way possible to react to something is to refrain from tweeting about it?

  24. The Pale Scot says:

    Dude, Rosie as Bannon would cause Trump to spontaneously combust.

    OH GOD YES!!

    PLEEEEZE!

    I’ll stop drinking for a weekend God if you let this happen.

  25. Roger Ailes says:

    John Goodman as Linda Tripp IS Steve Bannon.

  26. drpuck says:

    Outside the box.

    Trump: Peter Dinklage
    Bannon: Klara Novikova
    Pence: Judi Dench
    Ivanka: Amy Schumer
    Miller: Chris Rock

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