The Daily Illini

Has Saturday Night Live gotten too political?

By Kaitlyn McCann, Columnist

Saturday Night Live just started its new season and I, as many true fans, was initially ecstatic. I even went home this past weekend because I had a few new episodes recorded. So, as I got my coffee ready and barricaded myself in pillows, I turned on a show that I’ve used as an escape since my middle school days.

But this time it was different. After watching the first episode, I almost felt uncomfortable. The episode became quite controversial because of that week’s musical guest: Kanye West. And worst of all, it was pretty obvious the rest of the cast was uncomfortable, too.

Kanye took his time at the end of the show to expose the supposed “bullying” that occurred backstage during the week because of his “Make America Great Again” hat and his support of President Donald Trump. Cast members awkwardly sidestepped out of camera view as West become more political in his speech. It was about two and half minutes of unplanned, disorganized ranting.

SNL quickly acknowledged Kanye’s speech. In the news broadcast skit “The Weekend Update,” comedian Pete Davidson joked about leaving during the speech: “I’m like, I want a career! So I leave.” The next week’s episode went on to mock Kanye, including his recent meeting with Trump at the White House. It made me wonder: Why invite Kanye on the show if they know he is generally problematic and disliked at the moment? It was an overall messy situation, and SNL should’ve seen it coming.

Not only that, but other topics, such as Brett Kavanaugh, Bill Cosby and the Presidential Emergency Alert system were mocked as well. The show even went as far as to play Trump’s sons, Eric and Donald Trump Jr., who dubbed SNL as “Saturday Night Liberals.” This is after Trump tweeted about his outrage at SNL, condemning Alec Baldwin for his disrespectful impressions of him.

I am all for widespread education on important issues happening in our society, but it seems like every scene is constantly reminds us of the state of division our country is in; it almost makes it worse to joke about it so carelessly. There is a time and place for everything, and right now, the show seems a little oversaturated. A show meant for fun and laughs does not need to constantly pick at the right side — we already have enough of that from our current news outlets. The same would apply if SNL happened to be a conservative show.

It seems like there are so many people and pieces involved in this big, messy fiasco. SNL knows what its doing; the show understands the power of its platform to bring attention to these issues.

What I don’t think they understand is this: They are not only irritating conservatives, but their liberal viewers as well. Something I looked to at as a comfort for so long now just gives me more to be upset about.

Kaitlyn is a freshman in Media.

[email protected]

Leave a Comment
The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871