Hillary Clinton stopped by SNL (Saturday Night Live) this weekend, taking time from campaigning to poke fun at some of her own flaws, as well as bringing down the house.
Saturday was the season premiere of the venerable NBC late-night show’s 41st season, and the stakes were high. Fortunately, SNL didn’t disappoint, bringing jokes about Kim Davis and Jared Fogle, and a talked-about performance by Miley Cyrus. But the high point of the night was probably Hillary Clinton, yukking it up with the actress who portrays her, Kate McKinnon (by the way, McKinnon’s Clinton portrayals have earned her an Emmy nomination).
— Saturday Night Live (@nbcsnl) July 16, 2015
The bit begins in a dive bar as two patrons, played by Miley Cyrus and Beck Bennett, discuss the presidential election. Then the camera pans to Kate McKinnon-as-Hillary-Clinton, seated at the bar while her assistant, played by Cecily Strong, urges her to call it a night. “Hillary” asks for one more drink, and the camera pans back to reveal a bartender named “Val,” portrayed by the actual Hillary Clinton. After Hillary (the real Hillary, as “Val”) gives the enthusiastically cheering audience a few beats to get back to the sketch, the two engage in some back-and-forth that gently pokes fun at the candidate’s tendency to take her time in adopting positions — the Keystone Pipeline, gay marriage — as well as some digs at her likability and her perceived relentless ambition to get to the Oval Office.
The sketch also took a brief dig at Clinton’s possible opponent should she eventually get the nomination: Donald Trump. Hillary-as-Val did her best Trump impression, mimicking his voice and saying, “Uh, you’re all losers.” And of course, it wouldn’t be a Clinton-themed SNL sketch without a cameo by Bill Clinton, who showed up (via SNL announcer Darrell Hammond), saw two versions of Hillary, and fled the scene shouting “They’re multiplying!” As the New York Times reports, Kate McKinnon is herself a huge Hillary Clinton supporter — which makes sense. A Hillary Clinton presidency means McKinnon is guaranteed four more years on the job at SNL, a fact which Hillary Clinton herself seems to have noticed.
It’s not uncommon for celebrities, musicians, athletes, politicians, and others to make appearances in the venerated halls of Saturday Night Live after an SNL performer has made a name for himself/herself impersonating that person. Perhaps most famously, then-vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin stopped by SNL long enough to appear side-by-side with Tina Fey, whose did a dead-on impersonation of the former Alaska governor. (Watch beginning at 0:33 in the video below)
In fact, CNN writer Errol Louis believes that SNL might have gone a little easy on Hillary Clinton, considering the no-holds-barred skewering that Palin got a few years earlier.
“One suspects that Clinton’s team negotiated limits to how vicious the humor could get, mindful of the night in October 2008 when, during the closing weeks of the presidential campaign, Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, then the governor of Alaska, unwisely took part in an over-the-top zany skit that mercilessly lampooned Palin, her family, her state and her campaign as the show’s cast laughed at her, not with her… So it was smart of the seasoned campaign operatives on Clinton’s team to avoid letting their candidate be displayed as a fool.”
As of this post, it is not clear if Hillary Clinton is planning any future SNL sketches, either as herself or as a bit character playing opposite “herself.”
[Image courtesy of: YouTube]