While watching last weekend’s cold open for Saturday Night Live, I found myself wondering how funny the show would be if it couldn’t rely on satirizing politicians. The episode provided a running answer to that question. From the “Oscar the Grouch” parody to “Weekend Update,” it put pop culture itself squarely in its cross hairs. The cold open offered nearly the only political moment of the night.
Conservative politicians–especially Pres. Trump–have often complained that the show’s content veers so far to the left that its parent network, NBC, ought to offer equitable air time to comedians whose political views skew middle-right.
I suspect that those politicians miss the point of the show entirely. Satire works best when aimed at those in power or seeking power. As Saturday’s show suggested, it’s hard to sustain satire of the Democratic nomination process when Democrats themselves have no idea who will emerge from the primary victorious. (They also tend to parse their thoughts much more carefully, which results in less exposure to satire than someone like Pres. Trump.)
Of course, there’s another possibility: that liberals are simply funnier than conservatives.