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COLUMN: We all need to stop taking 'Saturday Night Live' so seriously



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America's foremost Donald Trump impersonator, Alec Baldwin, speaks during an event to discuss the book "You Can’t Spell America Without Me," a political satire of Trump's presidential memoir. Tribune News Service Buy Photos

Since its premiere Oct. 11, 1975, “Saturday Night Live” has made a habit of making a mockery of the most politically-charged rhetoric and current events.

This Saturday was no different as the cast and crew took on President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to secure funding for a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

With Alec Baldwin reprising his impression of the polarizing president, he took questions on the staged White House lawn from reporters on his latest ballyhooed decision.

Deriding Trump’s yeoman speech and simplicity, Baldwin pokes fun at everything from the Russia investigation and the president’s racially charged insinuations to his ongoing feuds with CNN reporter Jim Acosta and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

“I’d love to build a wall around Jim,” Baldwin’s character said.

Naturally, the real Trump took notice.

In an early morning tweet storm, he responded to the skit saying, “Nothing funny about tired Saturday Night Live on Fake News NBC! Question is, how do the Networks get away with these total Republican hit jobs without retribution? Likewise for many other shows? Very unfair and should be looked into. This is the real Collusion!”

In all reality, Trump’s response shouldn’t be all that surprising. It comes from the same man who became the first president since Ronald Reagan in 1981 to not attend the White House Correspondents Association Dinner — a clear indicator he is far from a fan of self-deprecating humor.

“S.N.L” has long been an avenue to see the absurdity and humor in America’s pop culture, politics and famous figures.

In fairness, the sketch Trump took issue with is unflattering toward him. It directly spoofs the president’s past and present issues of political correctness and lacking morality. But let’s take “S.N.L” for what it is — a comedy show.

In the age of Trump, fake news and questioning what is and isn’t true has plagued the journalistic profession in an attempt to dilute negative content directed at the President.

However, those attacks have generally been reserved for news outlets, not a comedic program that makes fun of quite literally everything and everyone. Herein lies the problem.

Admittedly, the Trump presidency has been specifically targeted by “S.N.L”. 

Melissa McCarthy, portraying former White House Press Secretary and Communications Director Sean Spicer, used the White House Press Room podium to attack journalists during a press conference on one past sketch.

Another saw Baldwin, still playing Trump, visited by ghosts from his past, present and future — Billy Bush, Vladimir Putin and Hillary Clinton — in a Christmas Carol-esque holiday episode.

Point being, “S.N.L” has gotten somewhat absurd in its ridiculing of the current administration. Yet what Trump and many Americans should take from these bits is not that it’s a hit job on a politician or a way for the left to disrupt the right. 

Rather, it’s a show that is designed to make Americans laugh.

From the time I was a small child, my mother had three rules for life: do your best, have fun and laugh at yourself.

Of those three, I’d argue the latter is the most difficult to attain.

That said, what programs like “S.N.L” can show us in this divisive time is that not everyone is out to get each other, but that sometimes it’s okay to just laugh at ourselves and not take things, like a TV show, so seriously.

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