This was the weekend ‘Saturday Night Live‘, on life-support for years, well and truly died.
SNL’s most recent cold open, ostensibly mocking the congressional testimony of three presidents at America’s top universities — the smirkiest of whom, Liz Magill of UPenn, resigned in disgrace hours before airtime — took aim at the wrong target.
Incredibly, outrageously, they made Elise Stefanik, the Republican congresswoman whose expert questioning revealed the depths of tolerated antisemitism on college campuses, look like the village idiot.
No wonder SNL vet Cecily Strong, who played Stefanik in the dress rehearsal, pulled out after feeling ‘uncomfortable’ with the sketch.
Portrayed in the live show by newcomer Chloe Troast as shrill, unhinged, atonal, unstylish and dumb — you know, everything SNL thinks of their flyover audience — this Stefanik, in SNL’s alternate worldview, was on the wrong side of history.
You know, the same side that remains horrified by the October 7 attacks on Israel, the rape, torture and murder of hostages — including small children — and the antisemitism raging throughout America, endorsed by our woke elite.
Troast, as a screeching Stefanik: ‘Now I’m gonna start screaming questions at these women… Antisemitism: YEA or NEA!?!’
The real Stefanik, a Harvard graduate, was calm and composed. She asked those questions with the gravity they deserved.
But in SNL’s version, it was the spineless presidents of the Ivy League, who otherwise disallow free speech and disinvite speakers when black, gay, or trans communities voice concern, who were the real heroes here.
‘Yessssss or nooooooo‘, SNL’s Stefanik continued hysterically, mewling her words like a toddler. ‘Is calling for the genocide of Jews against the code of conduct for Harvard?’
That was supposed to be a punchline. But the live audience wasn’t laughing at this misogynistic grotesquerie.
One can imagine producers in the control room furiously trying to cue up canned laughter.
How wrong-headed this was. How out-of-touch with every American who was appalled by last week’s testimony.
That cohort includes a bipartisan majority of Congress, the White House, the vice president’s husband Doug Emhoff, billionaire Ivy league donors, and left-of-center columnists such as Maureen Dowd and Andrew Sullivan.
Yet still the sketch wrapped up with a congressional chairwoman stating that ‘this was all very useless’.
As comedy, yes — it was most definitely useless.
But, in what it tells us about the sorry state of SNL, it remains quite useful.
The buck stops with SNL’s creator Lorne Michaels who, at age 79, has held a vice-like grip on America’s longest-running satirical show for the better part of its 50 years.
If NBC would like SNL to see another 50, Michaels should be shown the door.
Michaels who, by the way, was born Lorne David Lipowitz on a kibbutz in Palestine, whose staff is largely composed of Ivy League grads, and who hasn’t generated a genuine megastar since Eddie Murphy, Mike Myers or Tina Fey.
Whose much-vaunted show hasn’t been relevant in decades. This latest flop is Exhibit A as to why.
Power corrupts. Michaels has had too much of it for too long. He seems more concerned with his famous friends and keeping his political heroes safe rather than skewering anyone who deserves it.
To be a good comic is akin to being a good journalist: You can’t want to be accepted by the people you cover. You can’t want to be one of them. You have to stand apart, keep your eye jaundiced, take to task any and all who deserve it.
And, at the risk of sounding ageist, Michaels represents a gerontocracy that refuses to make way for the next generation. Culturally and politically, America deserves better.
Consider all the wide-open targets SNL has ignored for many years now. Alec Baldwin, a good friend of Michaels who depicted Donald Trump on the show throughout his presidency, is totally off-limits.
Alec Baldwin! He’s a gold mine whose much-younger wife, Hilaria, is a white woman from Boston who’s faked being Spanish for years! Who went on the ‘Today’ show and mused, in her fake Spanish accent, ‘How you say… cucumber’?
Who, along with Alec, has played the victim as he still faces charges for accidentally shooting his cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, a young wife and mother, on the set of his movie ‘Rust’.
Trump and anyone on the right — skewer, fillet, repeat. Alec and Lorne’s other pets? Let’s not ruffle feathers.
SNL commits comedic malpractice constantly.
Where are the spoofs of Harry and Meghan? How can SNL leave that to Trey Parker and Matt Stone of ‘South Park’?
Perhaps because, as Page Six reported in February, Michaels came close to booking Harry as a guest host and, like a crushing teenage boy, still holds out hope.
Meanwhile, his writers’ room has surely been instructed to ignore the Netflix doc, Harry’s memoir ‘Spare’, Meghan’s ‘Mandela moment’ in her interview with The Cut, and the two-hour high-speed Manhattan car chase H&M claimed to have endured, in fear for their lives, a claim doubted publicly by New York’s own mayor Eric Adams.
You know, little stuff like that.
And for a show that still goes balls-to-the-wall on Trump, SNL gives Joe Biden and his scandal-scarred son Hunter the velvet glove treatment — if they’re depicted at all.
Indeed, as the world turned to condemn America’s most out-of-touch Ivy League presidents, the other blockbuster story breaking last week was the First Son’s nine-charge tax indictment that could see him face up to 17 years in jail.
But from SNL – silence.
It wasn’t always like this. This show used to have teeth. It used to speak truth to power and influence fairly.
But somewhere along the way, Michaels began caring more about which super-celeb he was schmoozing with over dinner and being welcomed into every VIP room than actually doing his job.
Consider that for much of the 70s through the 90s, leaders of both political parties were fair game. Bill Murray mocked a post-Chappaquiddick Ted Kennedy, dashing onstage dripping wet, seaweed hanging from one ear, musing that he may have left wife Joan in his car, presumably underwater.
That sketch aired in 1979, as Kennedy challenged a fellow Democrat, the incumbent Jimmy Carter, for president.
In the mid-70s, Chevy Chase often made headlines for mocking President Gerald Ford’s penchant for falling down.
We haven’t so much as seen SNL’s Joe Biden trip up Air Force One.
Nor have we seen any mockery of Biden’s inability to speak extemporaneously, or to find his way off any given stage, or his attempts to shake hands with people who aren’t there.
If there’s one thing that kills comedy, it’s playing favorites.
The last time SNL really went after a Democratic superstar was decades ago.
With good cheer and real savagery, Bill Clinton was portrayed through the 90s as a glutton who snarfed McDonald’s, who told the nation that depositions in his sex scandal contained ‘good stuff… hot’, a horndog who warned America that their next president would be comparatively boring.
‘George W. Bush — here’s his scandal’, said Darrell Hammond’s note-perfect Clinton. ‘He was spoiled by his parents and he partied a little — 30 years ago. Big deal! Do you know what I did this morning?’
‘I mean, I don’t want to spoil it for you’, Hammond continued, ‘but it involved a Polaris missile full of heroin and the girl from ‘American Beauty’. Yes, yes it did.’
Alas, the SNL of today goes after only one side. Liberals, Democrats, and the woke far-left – the targets most in need of ridicule – are verboten.
But Michaels either can’t or won’t see it.
‘[The] first priority can’t be not offending people you like or who are powerful’, Michaels told the New York Times last year. ‘It’s the reverse’.
An America disgusted by this weekend’s sketch begs to differ.
It’s hard to believe that not one SNL cast member spoke up in the writers’ room or at dress rehearsal.
It’s hard to believe that script made it past NBC brass – executives, standards and practices, anyone with a shred of moral fiber.
Their inability to read the room at this most crucial moment – to side with a liberal elite that justifies antisemitism while mocking those horrified by it – means one thing:
Just as this woefully unfunny sketch died a well-deserved death, now the terminally woke SNL should do the same.