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

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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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  • CP

    Ridicule the asshole: it really gets to him.

    • sigaba

      It really does. Normal politicians are bland studious fakes who are immune to the flotsam of opinion. Trump is the exact opposite.

    • Manju

      Baldwin as Trump can’t be beat. But he could use a rest. In the meantime, give Rosie a shot.

      • Hob

        I’ve heard it plausibly argued that Rosie should play Bannon, both because she could do it well and because playing Trump’s superior might drive Trump even crazier.

  • Breadbaker

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

    • sigaba

      I believe Ayaan Hirsi Ali is represented by CAA.

      • Chetsky

        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

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

          • Ronan

            I didn’t agree with her point about breivik, but it wasn’t a “defence” if him (was more a shot at her critics )

            • Its always a great idea to use the corpses of 70 children to take a shot at one’s own critics.

              • Ronan

                Yes, obviously not. I didn’t have any sympathy for her point, and thought it in fact pretty stupid. But she still didn’t defend breivik in that speech (from my reading anyway)

        • timb

          She’s more than a little right-wing

        • LeeEsq

          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

            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

              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?

              • Oh, nonsense. We never stopped criticizing fundamentalist Islam.

                • John F

                  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

                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

                  Agreed with this completely.

                • Ronan

                  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

                  ‘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

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

                • LeeEsq

                  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

                  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

                  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

                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

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

          • aturner339

            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

              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.

              • aturner339

                I think it’s far more likely that more people are simply (and firmly) on the bigotry part of that line.

            • shawn k

              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

                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

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

          • witlesschum

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

            • Incontinentia Buttocks

              Spares someone else of the burden of being married to Niall Ferguson?

              • KadeKo

                Reminds me of being in a social circle in HS and hoping that two people start dating each other so they spend more of their attention away from others in the group.

          • humanoid.panda

            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

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

  • Crusty

    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.

    • encephalopath

      Or Trump played by Bridget Everett.

      https://youtu.be/C7SgtPD1x4o

    • Karen24

      Actually Jones should play Milo Yiannopolos in the most insulting sketch in the show’s history.

      • sigaba

        The problem is nobody knows who Milo is. And it just kills him inside.

        If you get Leslie Jones to play a Trump denizen it would be an extraordinary blow for race-neutral casting. Unengagaed people might actually connect with the message.

      • The Great God Pan

        Would Trump care? Despite the Bannon/Breitbart connection, I’d be kind of surprised if Trump has more than a vague idea of who Yiannoupolis is.

      • econoclast

        This is a high-stakes gamble. Milo is entirely motivated by attention, so if this happened he would have the most explosive orgasm in history. Which might prove fatal, but it’s certain, so we shouldn’t risk it.

  • Todd

    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?

    • Karen24

      No, it has to be a woman.

      • Chetsky

        +100k years is long enough to wait

    • Dilan Esper

      Jesus people, you guys don’t watch the show, do you?

      They OPENED with Bannon this week. He was in a grim reaper costume, and at the end of the skit, after pissing off all the world leaders on the phone, Trump was sent to his kids desk to play with his toy.

      • Captain Oblivious

        But was he played by a WOMAN?

      • timb

        This

      • lizzie

        Yeah, I watched it. And the skit was great, except I’m sure Bannon and his nazi fans thought the Grim Reaper portrayal was awesome. Needs moar humiliation, is what I’m saying.

        • Yes, the grim reaper part was not an insult to Bannon. If you want to hit Trump where it hurts remind him that Bannon is a fat fuck who isn’t pretty enough to playing Trump’s world. Every other pick he’s made has “looked the part” from central casting. Emphasizing Bannon’s untidiness, gargantuan appetites, and his dominating role is he way to undermine him with Trump. Not that grim reaper shtick.

          • egg

            I’m missing Chris Farley

  • Crusty

    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

      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.

      • Captain Oblivious

        Rosie should do Bannon.

  • 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.

    • ZakMcKrackenAndTheAlienMindbenders

      milo appropriating a line from life and times vol 3 era jay z :(

  • 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?

    • Captain Oblivious

      She’s not, uh … wide enough.

      • Stag Party Palin

        And she’s too good an actress. She would probably convince Trump she was a man.

    • Fiona Shaw played a fine Richard II back in the 90s.

      • The Dark God of Time

        Don’t let Murc know or he’ll have a heart attack.

      • geniecoefficient

        Glenda Jackson’s gonna to be playing Lear!

  • Murc

    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

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

      Tone policing SNL? Really?

      • Murc

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

        • catbirdman

          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.

          • This. Being portrayed by MM with such verve was not the equivalent of blackface, or het drag imitations.

      • veleda_k

        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

          “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.

          • sigaba

            Words to live by.

          • Nick056

            It’s not our job to educate you.

            • benjoya

              he was making helpful suggestions for a more productive thread. why such a dick?

              • Arla

                Nick056 wasn’t being a dick, he was using an internet buzzword (well, buzz-phrase, I suppose) in a tongue-in-cheek manner. I could be wrong but I thought it was fairly clear he was *emphasizing* Dilan’s point about how internet buzzwords have evolved into overused thought-terminating clichés.

    • kped

      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

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

      • liberal

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

        Agreed. She was teh awesome.

        • witlesschum

          Yup, she killed it. It’s basically Spicer as a her character from Bridesmaids, but without the self-assurance.

          Hartman’s Clinton.

          Warlord.

      • DamnYankees

        Yes. Baldwin lacks the defensive hypersensitivity whihc defines trump.

        • kped

          Yeah, it’s a scrunched up face, and a voice (that doesn’t sound like Trump), but nothing “there” in his impression. He doesn’t “get” Trump and thus plays him the way he does. A few jokes land because no matter what, Trump is just a ridiculous figure, but it’s not everything it can be.

          • benjoya

            agreed

        • ΧΤΠΔ

          I’ve always considered William Maher SUPERGENIUS’ impressionistic portrayal of Donald as a bridge-and-tunnel oaf to be one of the best takes.

      • Thirtyish

        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

          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

            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

              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

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

                • bender

                  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

            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

            I FIND YOUR LACK OF MRS DOUBTFIRE DISTURBING

      • DonN

        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

          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

            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

              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

                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

                  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

                  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

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

              • John F

                (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

                  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

                  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

              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

        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.

        • Warren Terra

          Am I the only one who not only didn’t think the important part was the actor’s gender, but didn’t even realize the actor was a woman?

          • rhino

            I saw a clip and had no idea until I read this thread.

            Perhaps I’m not very smart.

          • brewmn

            It took my wife and I a few minutes. Agree with the comments that it was more exploiting an actor’s strength at playing loudmouthed boors than “Oh, look! It’s a woman making fun of a man!”

          • PhoenixRising

            without the caption telling me it was Melissa McCarthy, I would have missed that detail as well.

            • blackbox

              You mean to tell me that’s not a picture of Sean Spicer?

        • Lost Left Coaster

          I 100% agree.

          McCarthy is a brilliant comic for interpreting sputtering, incoherent rage. Ergo she was perfect for Spicer. She gave a fantastic performance.

        • JonH

          “Suggesting the humor here is WOMAN plays MAN is really selling Melissa McCarthy short. ”

          It’s definitely not the source of the humor. But if it’s an additional irritant, or rage-accelerant within the Trump camp, so much the better.

          Also, there is a bit of a resemblance, which certainly helps.

          • Captain Oblivious

            The ill-fitting suit jacket collar was brilliant. I suspect that also sent Trump up the wall, because He Of the Ridiculously Phallic Long Bright Ties obsesses over other people’s appearance.

      • sigaba

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

        +10^(10^22)

        • ExpatChad

          Is that a Bingplex?

      • AMK

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

      • addicted44

        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.

      • timb

        This x 50

      • cpinva

        “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.

        • kped

          Is Sean Spicer even fat? Did Melissa McCarthy look fat as Sean Spicer? I…don’t get it.

          • djw

            Yeah, strange comment. Neither Spicer nor, at present, McCarthy are particularly fat, and any fatness of the actress or her target weren’t being milked for laughs.

      • Bob Loblaw Lobs Law Bomb

        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

        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

      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

        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

          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

          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

            boiling pot of masculine blundering rage

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

          • PhoenixRising

            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.

            • N__B

              It was cruel, it was personal, he earned it

              The perfect summary.

            • trollhattan

              The “Spicy needs his big-boy nap” line killed me. Continue hammering Trump directly and keep pointing out the cast of incompetent sycophants he’s surrounded himself with. We can follow two shiny things at once, promise.

      • Murc

        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

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

        • The Dark God of Time

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

        • Aaron Morrow

          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.)

          • This seems accurate. I haven’t seen the sketch yet (will watch when I get on my computer), but as a non-binary person, I have no issue with the casting. Melissa McCarthy is perfect for the part.

            • …and having watched it now, I don’t see any use of McCarthy’s gender for comedy whatsoever. The only tell that she’s even a woman in the sketch is the pitch of her voice, which isn’t the source of the comedy.

      • sigaba

        Never judge art by intent, judge by effect.

    • Chetsky

      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

      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

      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

      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

      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

        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

      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

      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

      • pseudalicious

        *belligerent liar

  • jim, some guy in iowa

    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

    • 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.

  • gmoot

    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.

    • Crusty

      I can’t tell if you’re trying to hasten Trump’s heart attack or making a crack about Rosie O’Donnell having had a heart attack.

      • Thirtyish

        Guess.

  • DamnYankees

    Rosie should not play bannon; she should play trump.

    • CrunchyFrog

      I’m guessing a Trump/Bannon/Spicer skit with all three played by women. This may be the most anticipated SNL of all time, even exceeding Palin/Biden.

    • Rosie as Trump. Meryl Streep as President Bannon.

      • Manny Kant

        I think Streep could probably do a pretty solid Trump.

        • Apparently she already has. I saw pictures.

    • Peterr

      If you really want to get under Trump’s skin, Rosie should play Judge Ann Donnelly of the Eastern District of New York, who ruled against the DOJ early on in this mess.

      Making Rosie a judge over Trump would turn Trump’s hair purple.

    • Cheerfull

      Every time I look at Bannon I am again sorry that Phillip Seymour Hoffman is dead.

      • kped

        Same. He was such a brilliant actor. My favorite. Was so sad to see him go. And Bannon would be so easy for him, he was born to play that guy.

  • Peterr

    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?

    • Thirtyish

      Too subtle, methinks. I like the idea of casting women, especially women with liberal credentials who have caused Trump to get his panties in a twist already. Trump’s misogyny is a known quantity, while it’s less certain if he hates kids or not.

      • Peterr

        Reporter: Kelly Ann, there is no such thing as the Bowling Green Massacre.

        Conway: There is too!

        Reporter: We looked into it, and there isn’t.

        Conway: Is too! Is too!! Is toooooooo!!!

        • Tyro

          Conway as Veruca Salt

          • Stag Party Palin

            You take that back. As ef goldman said a while back, perhaps Conway as Ilse Koch. Veruca Salt is cool.

  • Gizmo

    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.

  • Chris Mealy

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

    • Warren Terra

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

      • rhino

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

        • Chetsky

          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

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

            Melania Cashes In

            • Captain Oblivious

              Gee, you don’t suppose a third-rate model from Eastern Europe …

              Ah, never mind. She looks miserable in every picture I’ve seen of her, and she probably is. She may have signed up for his money, but not for this bullshit.

              • John F

                She looks miserable in every picture I’ve seen of her,

                ditto

          • The Great God Pan

            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

              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?

              • Thank you.

              • Chris Mealy

                Oh, you’re right, but it would be fun for Trump to completely lose his shit.

      • sigaba

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

    • ASV

      No — Putin with Ivanka.

    • rhino

      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.

  • sigaba

    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”

  • brewmn

    “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.

  • Peterr

    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?”

    • Manny Kant

      Er, yeah, so maybe it’s good that you don’t write for SNL.

  • Chetsky

    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?

    • JonH

      Colbert is on CBS, not NBC.

      • Chetsky

        Sorry, I should have been more specific. SNL’s on NBC, was my drift.

        ETA: And then there’s Squint & The Meat Puppet . Which, notwithstanding my admiration for Dr. Maddow, makes me loath to support MSNBC.

    • DrS

      Appears that you can buy a subscription to Colbert. SNL looks free, with commercials, online, so watching that would be like getting it over the local broadcast.

    • sigaba

      You can support SNL by watching SNL. Tell your friends about SNL. Tweet links to SNL sketches; don’t tweet links to YouTube, tweet links to NBCs website.

  • JonH

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

  • JonH

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

    • Captain Oblivious

      Philip Seymour Hoffman in his, um, larger roles would have been perfect.

      • Cheerfull

        Totally agree – Hoffman would barely have to change his appearance, and he’d be able to nail the evil and the smile without breaking a sweat. I keep thinking of him in the second Mission Impossible.

        • The Dark God of Time

          That’s interesting, as he wasn’t in it. He was in the one after that.

  • Bootsie

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

    • David Allan Poe

      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.

  • Manny Kant

    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?

  • MDrew

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

  • The Pale Scot

    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.

  • Roger Ailes

    John Goodman as Linda Tripp IS Steve Bannon.

  • Rob in CT
  • drpuck

    Outside the box.

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

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