SNL Spoofs Kavanaugh: Opportune or Too Soon?
Updated: Oct 8, 2018
Our news cycle has seemed much like a parody rather than reality in recent years and NBC’s Saturday Night Live has been taking full advantage of that. The show, which has always poked fun at political upheaval and controversial topics, has not shied away from skits about the Trump administration and all of the hot topics in politics from the last few years.
Their most recent episode opened with a spoof of the Kavanaugh hearing that has been in headlines and on front pages everywhere. If you haven’t seen the clip for yourself you can watch below:
Some of the women on my “Feminist Voices” Twitter list were expressing curiosity and concern about if SNL would be covering the hearing and if so, how they would do so correctly. I was also wondering how SNL would portray the hearings and the people involved while maintaining the iconic, satirical perspective they’re known for.
When I first watched the skit, I’ll admit that I cringed but also laughed at some parts. For the most part, rather than re-victimizing Dr. Christine Blasey Ford like I was afraid of, they chose not to mention her much throughout the skit. Although, it did not sit well with me when one of the chairmen, played by Alex Moffat, said within the first five minutes: “I kept an open mind which is why I voted yes for Kavanaugh before she [Dr. Ford] said a word. We’ve heard from the alleged victim so now it’s time to hear from the hero.” The mention of Dr. Ford used as the punchline to a joke did not make me laugh, not even on SNL.
A Vulture.com article titled, “The Matt Damon Kavanaugh Sketch Proves How Hard It Is to Do Politics on SNL Now,” mirrors my thoughts. The writer, Mark Harris, brings up that when the majority of SNL’s writer’s are males, there is a subconscious bias and disregard for the issues that affect women far greater than men.
“I do not envy anyone, least of all the show’s three male co-head writers (really, all men? Still?), whose assignment is to make comic hay out of something that is based so deeply on the pain of a woman putting herself on the line and of the millions of women watching her do it.”
Thankfully, SNL steered clear of any character representation of Dr. Ford or any of Kavanaugh’s accusers and instead, tried to find comedy in making Kavanaugh’s mannerisms into a caricature.
Matt Damon captured Kavanaugh’s absurd behavior by exaggerated screams, interruptions, and references back to his eerily intricate calendar from high school. There were other subtle jokes and jabs sprinkled into the skit, but I found myself still feeling uneasy after watching it.
Although SNL is known, praised even, for the way it can make light of serious subject matters this seemed too fresh and deep of a wound to be touched. On a day when young women all over the United States came forward with their own #MeToo stories in response to the courage displayed by Dr. Ford while recounting her own story, it was someone’s job to to make the chaos of our justice system into a cold open comedy sketch.
There is pain behind the inspiration of this sketch. I may have chuckled during some of the sarcastic remarks, but the discomfort of knowing that someone accused of sexual assault could be taking a seat on the Supreme Court loomed far past that 13 minute skit.
What are your thoughts: Do you think parody of the Kavanaugh hearings is detrimental to the #MeToo movement?