Joe Piscopo joined the chorus of Saturday Night Live alumni who have criticized the show for placing a higher priority on scoring political points than making people laugh.
“I’m so loyal to ‘SNL,’” said Piscopo. “But Stormy Daniels on ‘SNL’? Lorne Michaels doesn’t even ask me to go on ‘SNL’.”
SNL is certainly *more* left-leaning than it once was but the show was always left-leaning. No, the problem is not that SNL has become left-leaning. The problem is that they have become suck-ups to the elite.
The brand of comedy that first hit it big in the 70s with the original cast (and Steve Martin) was always mostly leftist but poked fun at the powerful, regardless of who they were. I can remember skits by the original cast skewering then-President Jimmy Carter that were devastatingly funny. They poked fun at Reagan and Clinton and Bush.
But then came the Obama era, when making fun of the first African-American President became a thing that even supposedly rebellious comedians dare not do. That was the moment when SNL went from being the nonconformists you grew up with to being American royalty’s court jesters.
I noticed it in one of the very first skits of the Obama era. The Democrats had just had a massive victory in 2008, taking complete control of Congress and the White House. The Republicans were more powerless than at any time in years.
So SNL did a skit making fun of…the Republicans.
It was some goofy thing with Dan Akroyd playing John Boehner, assuring fellow GOP Congressmen that the Party was in great shape, despite divisions over whether Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity was the better radio commentator.
And that was the pattern going forward ever since. Mock the *culturally* powerless, kiss up to the *culturally* powerful.
It is important to add that qualifier, “culturally.” The GOP did continue to gain strength politically throughout the Obama era and Trump is, after all, President. But their juice among the cultural elites is zero.
And that is who SNL’s comedy really aims to please, the cultural elites. Not you and me. They stopped caring what we think a long time ago.