This article contains spoilers in regards to SNL and the film “It.” It is recommended that readers watch the mentioned film and show before reading the article.
With the return of Saturday Night Live (SNL) came the ever comedic political satire which the show has become so famous for. The previous season of the variety show was heavily laced with similar political fanfare, unintentionally bolstering the popularity of mocking the presidential candidates of the 2016 election. With skits which mocked Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump alike, and in utilizing the stylistic choices of Alec Baldwin (Trump) and Kate Mckinnon (Clinton), SNL peaked as the “place” for “lighthearted” political commentary.
In September of 2017, the horror film “It” was released grossing higher than any other horror film in history, even more so than “The Exorcist,” with global ticket sales reaching $189.7 million. The writers of SNL saw the epically horrifying first scene of the film as a wonderful opportunity for the show, also bringing forth Kate Mckinnon in order to offer her best impressions of President Trump’s advisor, Kellyanne Conway.
The two melded together in a rather cohesive and absurd manner. The skit, following Anderson Cooper (played by Alex Moffat), takes place after his show, “Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees,” as he speaks with his assistant. The two quickly speak about getting an interviewee for an upcoming show, his assistant mentioning Kellyanne Conway. Cooper is dismissive, quickly responding with the comment “are we really that desperate?” Before he departs she hands him a sheet of paper.
The plot thickens from here. As the world transcends into the gloomy chaos of the night, surrendering to the rain that falls from overhead, Cooper exits the building, quickly covering himself in an incredibly familiar yellow rain coat. He begins to saunter along the sidewalk, and, soon thereafter, he loses his grip on the sheet of paper he holds in his hand, immediately following it as it floated across the flooded streets into a sewer.
Cooper attempts to look into the sewer to retrieve the seemingly lost paperwork but is immediately greeted by the face of Kellyanne Conway dressed in the attire associated with Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Mckinnon’s rendition of the fictionalized “Kellywise the Dancing Clown” includes the makeup associated with It, the murderous clown of the silver screen as well. After attempting to coax Cooper into joining her in the sewers, Kellywsie transforms into both Rachel Maddow and Hillary Rodham Clinton (yes, the Rodham is most definitely emphasized for sake of comedic purposes), even showing him his worst fears as headlines on the front pages of newspapers (one was about the fictionalized re-election of Trump, the other about Cooper becoming fat).
Cooper humors the clown for a time and thus the plot transforms into the opening seen of “It” where we witness the death of poor Georgie Denbrough upon his meeting Pennywise.
Though the skit itself is entirely ridiculous and certainly not plausible, it does have a strong political standpoint that seems to rouse viewers and call upon their attentions. With lines such as “do you want a quote?” (which is in reference to the phrase “do you want a boat”) and “Puerto Rico actually was worse before Hurricane Maria,” the absurdity of the skit cannot be ignored but it is simultaneously forgiven at the same time. Not only is it entertaining to watch, but McKinnons performance evokes a sense of illegitimacy that surrounds the Trump administration as whole.
The administration is notorious for its absolutely insane commentary and if anything the skit makes viewers feel as if they’re being made to “float too” right along with Cooper as they allow themselves to be dragged down into proverbial the sewers alongside him, just as they are being dragged by the Trump administration. In utilizing pop culture it seems SNL has mastered the art of great political comedy. The season is headed into a great direction for yet another promising season filled with absurdity and political and cultural commentary.
Photo courtesy of NBC, Saturday Night Live