“Saturday Night Live” may owe President Donald Trump the biggest “gracias” of the year.
Recent reports suggest the show is enjoying an increase in ratings, and NBC is even reportedly considering creating a spinoff series based on the political — and always liberal — “Weekend Update” segments.
This season of the show, which has become more focused on impressions of President Donald Trump and his Cabinet, is up 22 percent in total viewers from last season.
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The last episode of “SNL” notched the second highest rating in the much-coveted 18-49 age demo, according to Nielsen, for its week. This season of the show, which has become more focused on impressions of President Donald Trump and his Cabinet, is up 22 percent in total viewers from last season. According to NBC, “SNL” is enjoying its strongest ratings in 22 years, since the 1994-95 season.
It’s difficult not to see a correlation between the recent boost in popularity of “SNL” and the swearing-in of Donald Trump as president. The series earns more attention from the media now that big-name stars like Melissa McCarthy and Alec Baldwin have made guest appearances on the program as White House press secretary Sean Spicer and President Trump, respectively.
“Saturday Night Live” is also coming off eight years of flat political comedy. The show regularly refused to target former President Obama in any of its segments — and thus, the show had no teeth, no real bite.
Now, with a president in office it’s more comfortable satirizing, the show is regularly earning attention for lampooning authority. It’s reached the point that the only segments regularly getting traction are those of a political nature.
Coastal liberals are catching the show on Saturday nights or watching online clips for days afterward to have a few laughs at the president’s expense and to make themselves feel better — while many conservatives tune in out of curiosity or to keep up with cultural conversations. Many commentators also speculate that the uptick in ratings for the show likely owes a lot to President Trump and his occasional tweeting about the program.
“Saturday Night Live” spent eight years failing us. While once an even-handed, edgy satirical program that poked fun at authority and made fun of just about everything, it became about as funny, and flat, as MSNBC in its Obama worship. The show even still occasionally throws in some big wet kisses for the former president disguised as comedy skits.
Now, the show is earning ratings off the new administration’s back. It’s pretending the last eight years didn’t happen — and that it’s the edgy, politically divisive comedy show it’s always been.
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Could you imagine if Hillary Clinton had been elected? The show would have tiptoed around her controversies and hypocrisy the same way it did with Obama. It would have been the Hillary apologist hour-and-a-half that everyone dreaded and avoided each Saturday night.
“Saturday Night Live” is relevant again, whether people like it or not. And something that can’t be disputed about that newfound relevance is that “Saturday Night Live” owes it all to President Trump.