Article by: Gitika Bose

Saturday Night Live’s politically charged premier of its 42nd season took multiple jabs at Donald Trump. Generally well known for its political commentaries, the show focused on the presidential candidate in hilarious sketches like Family Feud and Melania Moments. Alec Baldwin notably channeled his inner Trump in the now viral re-enactment of the recent presidential debate.

SNL’s satirical approach to political commentary, while providing a humorous experience for viewers, also serves the greater purpose of elucidating a relevant message for an audience who may normally not appreciate it. Senior Melissa D. comments that, “we use laughter to bring out the absurdity of a situation – we laugh but it’s actually terrifying.” She believes that despite creating laughter, the satirical approach to such a delicate matter as politics can instill a sense of understanding.

The use of humor to this purpose is, in a sense, essential as awareness is fundamental to the situation. Through parody, SNL creates the incentive for people to find out more about their presidential candidates and potentially make more informed decisions.

However, Albena L., another senior, raises doubt as she considers the irony of the situation. “I found the impression of Trump hilarious! However, it’s worrisome as the ridiculous impression was actually very characteristic of this presidential nominee. While it is easy to make fun of the absurdity that is Donald Trump, this may downplay the atrocity that he has the potential to create if he’s elected,” she shares. Albena finds that though humour is entertaining, it deviates the gravity of the issue at hand.

We all come across more re-enactments of Donald Trump than real footage of him, from commentaries about his language discussed in ISM FOA presentations, to simple TOK discussions about Jimmy Fallon messing up his hair. Based on experience, it would hardly be surprising if satire was found to be the fundamental source of knowledge about all and any relevant politics for most people these days.

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