by Dexter Gore
It’s hard for me to not go like crazy when scrolling through my Facebook feed and finding a good gif or video poking at the 2016 presidential candidates. I feel like a teenager again. I enjoy the gifs made by Saturday Night Live. Despite the shitty writing that is brought to a live studio audience on the SNL stage, I will applaud the creative minds behind the skits highlighting the talents of Alec Baldwin and Kate McKinnon as they portray Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton respectfully. These short, satirical scenes contain language that is precise, short, with hyperbole after hyperbole that poke at both candidates’ flaws and strengths. To some people, the skits are just entertainment, attempts to make Baldwin relevant again since the end of Thirty Rock, and a chance for McKinnon to live out her secret fancy to one day be Hillary Clinton. For others, these skits contain valuable information on how to write satire well and at the same time be funny. Writers like David Sedaris and Stephen Colbert, essayist and memoirist, are masters of the writing seen brought to life in the discussed SNL skits. But how do they pull off their tricks? I argue it’s all about their timing and placement of events and characters in scene and their capitalizing on specific traits of characters that is odd in comparison to the social norm.
Look at the below political cartoon:
Funny right? A normal sized trump is placed next to your typical sized Olympic swimmer. After taking his place next to the swimmers, Trump makes a statement that is exemplary of his obsession with winning. The comedy is produced by the absurdity attached to Trump’s opinion in a situation that is not absurd, that is not rigged for any one of the swimmers to win or lose. Had the writer of the cartoon said more in this image, the comedy would have been lost. And why? Because the timing would have been off. There would have been too much of a good thing going on at one time. The only time too much of a good thing is needed, is when Zac Efron shows up to the carwash your hosting, half naked, and bulging all over.
As the political race wraps up in the coming weeks, I look forward to more remarks and scenes produced by the writers of SNL. I challenge many of you aspiring writers planning to submit your creative works of fiction and nonfiction to Barely South Review to study these scenes closely to see how the writers achieve satire, while also nailing pun after pun. It is my hope that before this race is over, we will witness the political cartoon that I have provided to you all in this blog, brought to life on stage, with Baldwin as Trump, and Efron, Gavin DeGraw, and Charlie Puth in speedos, too, with McKinnon standing to the side with her whistle, ready to start the race that will make many of us form a new appreciation for politics.