For those of us who watch Saturday Night Live religiously, we know how much we look forward to Kate McKinnon’s Clinton impersonation taking on Alec Baldwin’s Trump. Every week, millions of viewers tune in to listen to what today’s top comedians have to say, and every week it’s the talk of the town. It’s almost impossible to miss out on a funny skit, especially when it sheds light on some pretty hot topics. After all, who could miss out on “Melaniade” or “Weekend Update?”
From the shows inception, SNL has been known for it’s hilariously insightful impact on its viewers, especially those of the younger generation. Whether it’s a family gathering after a nice meal or a get-together after a long week’s worth of work, the show has become a household name in American culture and has made an indelible mark on viewers across the nation.
This election season in particular, SNL has gained enormous traction with its viewers, earning millions of views with its political cold opens and lighthearted satires of the Trump and Clinton families. But it’s not all surface level fun and games–the skits hold a lot of power in their meaning. For example, many of the political sketches will highlight important events going on in politics. Each skit also sheds some light on the candidate’s view, albeit in a satirical and colloquial manner.
In general, Saturday Night Live and many other late night comedy use current events to fuel their show–and it’s fantastic. For many millennials who may not have time to watch CNN or Fox every day, it’s great that comedians can channel the news and current events via comedy. Because the tone of late night TV is not as harsh as traditional media outlets, it’s easy for millennials to bring up the news during casual conversation.
There is a greater push towards social media platforms and comedians to explore the news and broadcast it to a wider audience. Think about the last time you were able to watch a news channel. It’s extremely hard for most college students to focus both on their studies and also make time to watch TV, if they even have cable in their dorm rooms. Through social media and small clips of comedy sketches, the news of the week branches out to a wider audience that may not have been reached beforehand. The funny and quick manner in which news is presented appeals more to many college students and makes them more informed.
This relationship between journalism, late night TV shows and social media, however, should not be taken lightly. Because so many college students refer to these shows as news sources, there is a moral imperative for comedians and social media bloggers to be fair and to educate their devoted fans with accurate information. It’s really important for these new journalistic outlets to understand that beyond the fun and laughs, their words impact the world. This is often a big issue now, when many media and news outlets for that matter have chosen their sides politically in front of their many undecided viewers.
So sit back, grab some popcorn and make some time between the readings and problem sets to watch SNL this week. Whether it be the crazy political sketches or the skits we fail to understand but find hilarious anyway, we’ll never know what new perspectives we’ll learn about or what crazy lines will come next. After all, who doesn’t want to see more Kate McKinnon impressions?