‘SNL’ political spin-off will add to saturated satirical culture


Courtesy -- Dana Edelson/NBC

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE — “Melissa McCarthy” Episode 1696 — Pictured: (l-r) Relationship expert Leslie Jones, Colin Jost, and Michael Che during Weekend Update on February 13, 2016 — (Photo by: Dana Edelson/NBC)

Fear not, TV lovers who aren’t getting enough Donald Trump on your screens.

Last week, “Saturday Night Live” announced that their wildly popular “Weekend Update” segment would be expanded into its own prime time spinoff show.

“Weekend Update”, devoted to satirical news such as dysfunction in the new presidential administration, has reemerged as a fan favorite ever since President Trump took office. In fact, “Saturday Night Live” is currently receiving its strongest ratings since the 1994-95 season.

The intensely divisive and backhanded nature of last year’s presidential campaign cast a pall over politics in general and has left the public in desperate need of a laugh whenever they can get it.

In this ominous climate, “Saturday Night Live” has thrived on making caricatures out of already outlandish individuals and situations. “Weekend Update” will continue to capitalize on this as it launches into the TV realm on its own.

There’s no denying that such satire is amusing (unless you’re Donald Trump himself). “Saturday Night Live” is produced by professional comedians who know what it takes to run a successful operation.

When they tackle politics, their no holds barred approach is enough to captivate an audience and make them forget the graveness of real-life political situations as they appreciate the comedic genius.

There’s something to be said for relieving political stress by laughing instead of letting it build up and affect your life negatively. If this is the avenue you choose to take, many satirical options are available.  Besides “Saturday Night Live”, comedians such as Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, and Samantha Bee can be counted on to routinely deliver their own blistering political commentaries.

The danger is in letting satire become your crutch—the only way you can process and deal with difficult news. Sometimes this commentary can create another level of disconnect in the mind of viewers, separating them from the inter-workings of their democracy.

Laughter should never paralyze you. It can be a good defense on a situational basis, but if the toxic political climate troubles you, there groups to be joined, petitions to be signed, and congressional representatives to be contacted.

There’s also an argument to be made that everyone already has a set opinion of the new administration and more scathing satire will only exacerbate the growing partisan divide in the country.

An “SNL” spinoff will likely rub people the wrong way — all the way up to the man in the White House himself. It is important to remember that everyone is entitled to their own opinions and it is this diversity that keeps our democracy vital.

That’s not to say I won’t tune in when “Weekend Update” hits the air. A whole thirty-minute program devoted to current events in the classic “Saturday Night Live” comedic style is an exciting prospect.

Like all good things, satire should be consumed in moderation.