SNL avoids President Biden in new episode
Comedian Adam Carolla reacts to NBC’s Saturday Night Live avoiding mockery of President Biden in its first episode since he took office.
It’s always been tradition. Comedians and talk show hosts like to make a living out of mocking politicians in power. And yet, it seems that today’s funny men and women have collectively avoided making President Biden a punchline.
Conservative-minded comedians think they know why. The likes of Jimmy Kimmel and other left-leaning late-night hosts aren’t talking about Biden, says comedian and writer Michael Loftus, “because they have a political agenda.”
“They don’t want to make fun of their guy,” he told Fox News. “It’s only funny when it’s a Republican.”
It’s a “scary notion,” Loftus continued, to consider that comedians are not crafting jokes based on what’s funniest, but “what’s most effective.”
One recent example of a satirical show shying from Biden is this year’s “Saturday Night Live.”
Former SNL cast member Maya Rudolph, who as of late has been parodying Vice President Kamala Harris, hosted the March 27 taping of the show. It was the first live show since Biden’s now-infamous stumble(s) up Air Force One. And yet, instead of spoofing his clumsiness in the show’s cold open, the cast instead performed a skit about COVID-partying spring breakers.
SNL’s decision to leave Biden and his clumsiness alone is a noticeable change from the 1970s when audiences couldn’t get enough of then-star Chevy Chase’s physical comedic impersonation of then-President Gerald Ford, who he portrayed as a bumbling klutz with two left feet because Ford slipped a few times in public.
But the modern audience is different, says comedian Tom Shillue, and he muses that might be another reason satire shows are leaving Biden alone.
“A lot of comedians, I just think they think the audience is going to be offended,” Shillue said.
Comedians like Samantha Bee, who recently admitted that she’s not picking on Biden or his agenda because she agrees wholeheartedly with his policies, show that today’s comics are “committed to policy first and comedy second, which is hurting comedy these days,” Shillue said.
“Wouldn’t it be great when it was comedy first?” he asked.
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Loftus and Shillue, however, are among the comedians who are taking advantage of what they say is an endless supply of comedic material from No. 46.
“I’m having a field day with this guy,” Loftus said. “The comedic possibilities are endless.”
Loftus says he loves poking particular fun at Biden’s “old-timey talk” and his attempts at smack talk. He gave Fox News a teaser of some of the material he likes to play off when he’s ripping on the president.
“I love his ‘no malarkey,’” Loftus said. “All his little, ‘let’s go do push-ups.’ A guy as frail and fragile as him just talking smack. That stuff’s hilarious.”
Loftus also painted a picture of what his act on Biden’s Air Force One falls would sound like.
“When the White House says the wind blew him over, is that who you want in charge of the country? When there’s a high wind advisory, he can’t step out? Guy can’t work a Zoom meeting, but you expect him to be in charge of the country,” Loftus quipped.
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But those jokes, he says, are few and far between these days.
“It’s bad and it’s predictable,” Loftus said of the current state of comedy in America.
Shillue seemed just as dismayed, but he said he’s hopeful America will start laughing again once we put the COVID pandemic behind us.
“I think the temperature has been turned up so high over the past several years that maybe we’re headed for a break in the fever and people are going to want to laugh again,” he said. “I’m optimistic it will change. People will be going back to comedy clubs and maybe people will say forget about politics.”
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