Larry David’s Bernie Sanders impression has been a beloved staple on Saturday Night Live this election season, and David was back by popular demand for the cold open at the beginning of the March 12 episode. Senator Bernie Sanders’s similarity to Larry David in vocal tone, mannerisms, and regional accent is so striking that it became a running joke on the internet and in the political media before David even started doing a regular impression of him for Saturday Night Live. This week’s hilarious cold open also ribbed a couple of the 2016 Republican presidential candidates, with memorable impressions from Darrell Hammond as Donald Trump and Jay Pharoah as Ben Carson. CNN‘s Jake Tapper was played by Beck Bennett.
Larry David interestingly broached the subject of Bernie Sanders’s online supporters and their reputation for being irritating zealots. White and male Sanders supporters are routinely referred to as “Bernie Bros” in a derogatory manner on social media, due to their alleged penchant for being condescending and pushy — and sometimes downright nasty — toward social media users who are either undecided Democrats or are supportive of Bernie Sanders’s primary opponent, frontrunner Hillary Clinton. Those who most often report negative experiences with “Bernie Bros” are usually women and people of color.
“I want to thank everyone who voted for me, and apologize to everyone else for making your Facebook feed so, so annoying. I mean, I love my supporters, but they’re too much, right? I’m great, but I’m not ‘five posts a day’ great. With all due respect to my supporters, get a life.”
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) March 13, 2016
Larry David’s version of Bernie Sanders also lightly ribbed the Independent senator from Vermont for not having the support of many of the Democratic superdelegates, for not doing nearly as well as Hillary Clinton is doing with non-white voters, and for having very youthful support — Bernie Sanders is routinely winning the 18-29 age group by stunning margins. David also poked fun at the trope that Sanders doesn’t have a realistic plan for implementing the reforms on which he’s campaigning.
“My message is resonating with a very diverse group of white people. And I’ve got supporters of all ages — 18-year-olds, 19-year-olds. That’s it. The young people love me, Tapper, because I’m like them. I’ve got a lot of big plans, and absolutely no idea how to achieve them.”
— Mediaite (@Mediaite) March 13, 2016
Saturday Night Live also took on the escalating violence that has been occurring at Donald Trump’s campaign events. Trump’s events all over the country have been besieged by protesters who are upset by his harsh and discriminatory rhetoric, and in one incident, a white Donald Trump supporter was charged with assault after punching a black protester in the face. In another incident, Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields alleged that Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, grabbed her by the arm forcefully enough to leave bruises and yanked her away from Trump with enough force that she nearly fell. Fields tweeted a picture of her bruises, and Washington Post reporter Ben Terris was an eyewitness to Lewandowski’s assault of Fields.
— Michelle Fields (@MichelleFields) March 10, 2016
Donald Trump’s rhetoric has largely targeted members of the media and people of color, and the ensuing violence seems to track with largely the same targets.
Trump encourages a mob to turn on NBC reporter @KatyTurNBC. Scary. He’s the scum.
— Harold Itzkowitz (@HaroldItz) December 8, 2015
Donald Trump’s tendency to provoke such dangerous incidents was lampooned in this week’s Saturday Night Live cold open by making Jay Pharoah’s Ben Carson the target of the Trump supporters’ ire. Pharoah’s brilliant impression of Carson is exaggeratedly creepy, sleepy, and seemingly confused. He was given a Trump Steak to hold against his injured eye by Darrell Hammond’s Donald Trump, who admonished the crowd that Ben Carson is “one of the good ones.” Pharoah’s Carson then assured the public that Trump has “a lot of black friends,” listing former Apprentice contestant Omarosa Manigault, Dennis Rodman, and Mike Tyson, after which Hammond’s Trump admitted that was the entire list.
Larry David returned as Bernie Sanders to complain about being disrupted in his pajamas — which he said he always wears under his suits — and capped off a terrific cold open with the classic, “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!”
[Image courtesy of Andrew Toth/Getty Images]