As a 20 something the anxiety of voting is new to me. Saturday Night Live isn’t new, but would be for most people within my age group as the show is predominately viewed by people between the ages of 30 and 40. The political commentary of the episode, hosted by John Mulaney, was a new experience for me and was a funny yet harsh reminder of the current state of the nation.
Mulaney has the odd talent of landing punches while seeming like he’s holding back. In his opening monologue he explains his take on the elderly voting in the most tender way possible, by referring to his own grandmother who is over 90 years old and planned to vote.
“You don’t get to order for the table when you’re about to leave the restaurant”.
It might hurt if you’re Mulaney’s grandmother, but this is the most gentle way you can say that someone’s opinion on politics shouldn’t matter when they’ll probably be dead before the next elected president finishes their term.
His phrasing just sounds nicer. Mulaney’s opening monologue was also a warm up for what was to come.
The skit “Strollin” begins with four Black voters (played by Kenan Thompson, Chris Redd, Ego Nwodim and Punkie Johnson) on their way to vote. After several attempts to vote, they realize that all polling places in their area have been closed and they have to “stroll” on a highway to get to a polling place. Once the group gets to an open polling place they see a white man holding a firearm.
It’s funny until you consider that hundreds of polling places in Texas have been closed in communities that are predominantly populated by Latinx and Black would be voters.
It’s funny until news spreads that armed Trump supporters are circling polling places.
Then it becomes brutal.
The Strokes, musical guest for the episode, kept the theme going with their performance of “The Adults Are Talking”.
“They will blame us, crucify and shame us/ We can’t help it if we are a problem/ We are tryin’ hard to get your attention/ I’m climbin’ up your wall/ Climbin’ up your wall”.
If the song isn’t about Trump supporters and Trump himself shaming protestors fighting for social justice, I’d be surprised.
The episode continues on with the jabs that Mulaney set viewers up to receive. Colin Jost and Michael Che, anchors of the “Weekend Update” segment, take swings at the Trump supporters that were left stranded in nearly freezing temperatures at a rally in Omaha and make a mockery of the reported 700 Trump supporters that died due to the coronavirus after attending rallies.
“Don’t worry, the president isn’t trying to kill his supporters. He’s killing his supporters”.
Low blow? Maybe.
Necessary blow? Definitely.
I am not sure if anyone that isn’t opposed to voter suppression and mass gatherings during a pandemic watches SNL, but if such viewers exist I would hope an hour long episode could serve as a wake up call.