Columns / Discourse / Featured / February 15, 2017

Make America laugh again

In this political climate, there isn’t much to believe in. I have lost faith in our government, in our public school system, in my role in this country as a woman. Something I haven’t lost hope in and I don’t think I ever will, is comedy.

Saturday Night Live is doing important things. Yeah, I’ll say it — I think SNL could change our country. Let’s first look at the fact that Saturday Night Live is taking Donald Trump and holding him accountable for everything he has done. No other media source can be so blatantly left-winged. No other media source has the ability to put Bannon in a grim reaper costume and get away with it. No other media source can tell it like it is. SNL has a history with turning political figures into comedic gold.

Dana Carvey was George H.W Bush. Will Ferrell was George W. Bush. Tina Fey, Sarah Palin; Chevy Chase, Gerald Ford; Jay Pharoah, Barack Obama. SNL has made a business off imitating political figures. When I look back to the 2008 McCain/Obama election, I remember getting all of my information from Saturday Night Live’s cold opens. I essentially learned who Hillary Clinton was through Amy Poehler’s impression of her. “Republican” and “Democrat” were words that I asked my parents about after watching Tina Fey and Amy Poehler debate — “I can see Russia from my house” still sticks with me as a pivotal part of the election.

SNL has a way of making itself important and relevant during election years, it becomes a part of the dialogue. Sketches are shared on Facebook, aired as reruns but most importantly, Saturday Night Live makes a difference in the portrayal of politics in America. SNL’s Season 42 has been boasting the best ratings that the show has had since the 1994-1995 season (cast members included Chris Farley, Sarah Silverman, Molly Shannon, etc.) all thanks to Trump. SNL gives us the opportunity to laugh in the face of honest-to-god horror, something I think we should learn to appreciate more so than we already do.

Especially in this day and age, when we need as many role models as we can take, cast members like Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant and Sasheer Williams portray strong women in every episode; even paying homage to Hillary after the election through a heartfelt piano performance. SNL allows women to take the center stage and most importantly allows women to be funny, something that goes against Trump’s dehumanizing views of women.

Allow yourself to laugh. Allow yourself to watch the complete and utter nonsense that SNL portrays and let yourself forget for just a moment that it is based off truth. Saturday Night Live gives us the power to put politicians in their place and hold them accountable for all the shit they put us through. Don’t forget that there is humor in the horrendous.

Lillie Chamberlin
Lillie is a sophomore at Knox, majoring in creative writing with an emphasis on comedy and minoring in gender and women's studies and theatre performance. She is the president of Knox's Best Buddies chapter, and during her summers she is a camp counselor at an all-girls summer camp where she teaches classes including (but not limited to): canoeing, Beyonce Appreciation, Comedy, Journalism and "Wacky Sports". She began submitting discourse pieces her freshman year and now loves sharing other peoples' work through the section-- she encourages everyone to write for discourse!

Tags:  accountability column comedy discourse entertainment government importance politics presidency Saturday Night Live Trump

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