Saturday Night Live’s take on the Spicer Press Conference

Written by Zack Lander


The Trump Administration has really had no honeymoon period, or easy time in the limelight. Not many administrations do as they adapt, but Trump’s has seemed to be rockier. And especially since Trump seems to love the attention, whether good or bad, they just sort of have to roll with the punches on this. To us, it could be a big act to gain attention. Does he really need any more attention? He’s already the leader of the free world. It’s all pretty ridiculous, which is concerning because his big mouth and lack of filter to stop him from saying stupid things to other powerful figures could affect our safety and well being. But on the other end, we’re able to laugh at his ridiculousness. And with the help of Lorne Michaels and the talented people over at “Saturday Night Live,” we get some high quality skits to laugh at, too.


Ever since these skits have happened, “Saturday Night Live” has had the highest ratings in twenty years. There is a newfound interest in this show. It always touched on relevant issues but with everything going on in politics, they have really been thriving. And sometimes you just need to laugh even when things get serious. It’s like seeing the light in a dark time.


SNL is known for always impersonating celebrities, public figures, and even politicians. From Tina Fey playing Sarah Palin to Will Ferrell playing George W. Bush, “Saturday Night Live” has done its fair share of political satire.The most talked about impersonations right now include Alec Baldwin playing Donald Trump (securing Baldwin a solid job for the next few years) and Melissa McCarthy’s impression of White House press secretary Sean Spicer.   

Donald Trump had a rocky relationship with the press throughout his campaign and early presidency, and although Spicer had the opportunity to  fix that relationship, his first press briefing proved to be better fodder for SNL skits than developing a working relationship with journalists. At Spicer’s first press conference, he  gave rude responses to questions, showed really nothing but stern disrespect, and mistreated certain reporters. The main news station that Spicer seems to not get along with is CNN. In the skit (click here), it shows Spicer (Melissa McCarthy) do a variety of things. I’m going to talk about three: the use of props, the exaggeration of language and Spicer’s rudeness, and the accuracy of the skit compared to the actual press conference and whether “Saturday Night Live” takes it too far.


First, McCarthy (fake-Spicer) uses props to dumb down what is being said in the clip. With fake-Spicer imagining he is exponentially smarter than reporters, he uses various objects in order to get his points across. Some of the objects are chewing gum, stuffed animals, and a water gun. Fake-spicer chews a big wad of it because real-Spicer chews some at the press conference. “Saturday Night Live” of course exaggerates it and has her chew almost a whole pack to poke a little fun at it. Second, they have fake-Spicer explaining the Muslim ban. In this they not only use a rope to say that Trump ‘will not’ but they use moose and lamb stuffed animals to talk about ‘radical moose lambs.’ This is used to poke fun at how real-Spicer thinks he is so much smarter than reporters that he has to dumb it down and teach them these things at almost an elementary school level. Lastly, fake-Spicer uses a water gun and sprays it at a reporter to wash out what real-Spicer seems to think is a dirty, lying mouth. Although they may not be lying, that’s part of the joke. All news Trump disagrees with, his administration almost has to disagree with, and therefore they think that is the same thing as being wrong.

Second, this skit’s humor relies on exaggeration of language. This happens once or twice in the skit where a reporter will ask a question and Spicer will then tell the reporter they (the reporters) are the ones spreading lies, even though at some points they were just saying quotes from Spicer or Trump themselves. One example would be talking about the muslim ban, and Spicer says that it’s not a ban. Reporters then go on to say that that is what Trump had called it, and Spicer argues back that the reporters are using that word so that is why Trump’s staff is using it. It reminded me of something a child would say because they thought they were funny, but adults found it annoying like “I know you are but what am I?”

Third, is this an accurate representation of the press conference, did this go too far and what did Spicer think of it? I don’t think it went too far at all. It wasn’t offensive in the slightest. The sad part was it was actually pretty accurate in some parts. When they really dumbed down Betsy DeVos, having her say things like “I think there should be a school” and having it be a ‘Jesus school’ and ‘with walls and roof’ pokes fun at how uninformed and unintelligent she is about the school system, since she was never a public school student herself. I can see why this would be offensive, and people may think is too far, but if you take a high position of that caliber and you have no intelligence on the subject, expect people to question why you are there in the first place.

Spicer saw the skit and wasn’t too offended on the matter. He even responded to the skit. He said “I think Melissa McCarthy needs to slow down on the gum chewing” and “Way too many pieces in there (here).” This clip was a good way to poke fun and make light of the pretty unprofessional press conference. I don’t think it went to far or stepped over any boundaries at all. There were no attacks on anyone’s family or personal health issues someone may have had. There was no jokes in bad light or that really shouldn’t have been well received. If you are a member of the Trump Administration, I can see why they might not like being made fun of at that level, even if it is all in good fun. They are a group of fairly serious people who don’t like jokes, because they may even consider that ‘fake news.’ (Haha) Overall though, it’s a joke and we should just take it in stride and not really look too much into it. It was a funny skit, with many more to come from “Saturday Night Live,” and it was really no harm no foul. Spicer has even seemed to loosen up a bit and has different, more light approaches on press conferences. He probably just doesn’t want the skits about him again, but nonetheless it’s different.

One thought on “Saturday Night Live’s take on the Spicer Press Conference

  1. I think that you touch upon an extremely relevant issue with your blog post and I personally believe that SNL is utilizing the political material they are given in an intelligent way. There are people out there that hate Trump and would love skits like this that make fun of him, and other political figures as well. However, on the other side of this matter are the people who did vote for Trump (myself included) that also find a lot of humor in this type of comedy. I believe that by making fun of some of the areas someone, such as Trump, needs improvement in exemplifies that someone like the President is actually a human like all of us. I do stupid things all the time (obviously not on a global scale), but a lot of those stupid things turn into jokes in my friend group, and this causes me to learn from my mistakes. So I feel that SNL is not always just aiming to put down political figures, but rather critique them in a public way in order to show them what they need to fix.

    -Adam Kalogeros


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