Did Post-Election Saturday Night Live Help or Hurt America's Political Divide?

Saturday Night Live has continued playing off of current news and politics in the show’s signature sarcastic and controversial manor. 

Alec Baldwin has been scrunching his orange-painted face into an effortless Donald Trump impression since the president took his first steps into the White House. The cold open on Saturday, September 29 made a large impression on the internet as Matt Damon posed as Brett Kavanaugh in an exaggerated reenactment of his court hearing.

The post-election episode aired on Saturday, November 10, and the sketch comedy’s news coverage stayed consistent. 

The episode began in the attorney general’s office, as Kate McKinnon reprised her role as Jeff Sessions. In her goofy Gollum-like impersonation of Sessions, McKinnon sang Adele’s “Someone Like You” to photos of Trump before resigning his position to Matthew Whitaker. Parts of the script alluded to Sessions’ and Trump’s involvement in the Mueller investigation. McKinnon scrambled through the sentimental belongings in Sessions’ office, including a Confederate flag coffee mug and the box Sessions “was born in.” 

The bit made for a lighthearted beginning to an episode that ended stirring up an interesting political conversation across the country.

Later, Michael Che, Colin Jost and Pete Davidson led an unforgettable Weekend Update. “The midterm elections were on Tuesday, and like a scorned wife after a bitter divorce, the Democrats took back the House,” Jost opened with. 

The actors touched on the historic firsts made in the elections and Ted Cruz’s victory over Texas, but perhaps the most memorable, timely bit was Davidson’s apology to Lieutenant Commander Dan Crenshaw, a moment many Americans were asking for.

A week before, Davidson put Republican midterm candidates through the ringer roast-style and made a joke about Crenshaw’s missing eye, which he lost during his time in Afghanistan. The carnage was brutal; people were disgusted by Davidson’s comment, but what better way to make up for it than to bring Crenshaw onto the show?

During Crenshaw’s cameo, Davidson gave his sincere apologies to him, followed by the cast giving Crenshaw time to roast Davidson back. “Pete looks like Martin Short in the ‘Santa Claus 3’,” Crenshaw said as the crowd exploded into laughter. “By the way, one of these people was actually good on SNL.”

The silliness came to a halt when Crenshaw began a monologue about the importance of civility in politics and respect for veterans. This pleased and impressed a lot of folks. Some, though, are suspicious of the skit.

“SNL didn’t need to make this grand gesture,” Caitlin Schneider of Splinter said. “Maybe they thought the apology would make for good press.”

Schneider argued that the show displayed weak integrity to its own political platform by succumbing to what the majority of America, and possibly NBC, wanted. 

All of this only perpetuates one of the nation’s biggest questions: How devoted are you to your political party? Will you swallow your pride and break bread with the opposition, or will you stand your ground, even if that means displaying hatred actions? 

The comradery displayed on the show between the two adults who fall on two very different sides of the political spectrum was a fun break in the serious debate, to say the least.