So, I don’t know what happens when you die, but one of my theories is that if heaven and hell are real, hell is just a place where you show up and it’s an auditorium and then the curtain opens and it’s not the devil, it’s Lorne Michaels, and he shouts LIVE FROM NEW YORK, IT’S SATURDAY NIGHT.
This vision of hell felt all the more real when Donald Trump got mad at Saturday Night Live again this weekend, this time for using him as the punchline to a parody sketch of It’s a Wonderful Life which imagines a world without Trump.
Although we can debate the usefulness of SNL’s brand of humor in the age of Trump—the show always ends up being a little behind on the joke as the president regularly pushes mundanely shitty things to their absurdist extremes—some people apparently still like it, especially CNN’s Alisyn Camerota. The anchor defended the show from Trump’s incoherent attacks on the air on Monday morning by saying, among other extremely dumb things, “I am at my most patriotic when I’m watching SNL.”
Here’s what Camerota said in full about the show:
Here’s the point: I am at my most patriotic when I watch Saturday Night Live. And I’ve always felt this way. In high school, in college, I remember having the epiphany of: Wait a second, we live in country where comedians can mercilessly make fun of our president—and I’ve felt this way for decades—how great is this country that we live in. And you cannot take that away. I’m sorry, you can take issue with the Fourth Amendment as you did this weekend or the criminal justice system, but do not mess with our comedy.
Ugh. Look, the First Amendment? Good. Extremely good! A good point to make, that the First Amendment is good. (The Fourth Amendment is also good, in my opinion, but sure.) But shouting “Sir, SIR: Do NOT mess with Our Comedy!!” at the president is one of the dumbest possible things you could do, despite how wild it is that the president claims to think his Justice Department should investigate a sketch comedy show.
There’s really no need to defend SNL! The show’s toothless jabs at the president give people something to watch and laugh along with that feels like political participation but isn’t. If watching a comedy show makes you feel “patriotic,” maybe you should try, who knows, attending a protest or like, organizing a union drive.