Satire and Saturday Night Live

Tom Hanks, Melissa McCarthy, Peyton Manning, Steve Martin, Miley Cyrus, Chris Rock and Alec Baldwin celebrate the anniversary.

Last Sunday (Feb. 15th) was the 40th anniversary ofthe TV show Saturday Night Live. My word of the year is satire, and SNL has been the master of satire for the past forty years, longer than any show or person around today. SNL is a comedic force that helped define satire as a genre. This show is what helped me understand satire. It has all aspects of satire, including political, entertainment and just of everyday life. Everybody can relate to the humor found in SNL. This is a large part of satire in general. The writers of the show have said that a good political joke is where Republicans say «That really got the Democrats» while the Democrats say «That really got the Republicans». A good example is in the skit with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Fey impersonated Sarah Palin while Poehler impersonated Hilary Clinton. Good satire can connect to everyone in a society, which is an objective SNL has achieved for the past 40 years. The proof that SNL can extend beyond modern day satire can be found in the «Reagan Mastermind» skit of the 80’s. In this skit, Phil Hartman portrayed Reagan as a secret evil mastermind hiding behind a kindly face. This is similar to Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s skits because in all instances, SNL is exaggerating the public perception of these political figures. Republicans can glean from this skit that Reagan is smart and effective but has to play simple for the public, while Democrats can believe that Reagan lies about his intelligence to get away with crimes. The satire is effective because everyone appreciates it.

Tina Fey portrays Sarah Palin as stupid, and Amy Poehler portrays Hilary Clinton as tense and uptight. – “Reagan Mastermind” sketch

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