Hillary Clinton was on the season opener of Saturday Night Live:
Clinton played a bartender named Val who keeps the glasses full for Kate McKinnon’s depressed Clinton character. “Oh Val, I’m just so darn bummed. All anybody wants to talk about is Donald Trump,” said McKinnon’s fake Clinton.
“Donald Trump? Isn’t he the one that’s like, ‘Uh, you’re all losers?’” real-Clinton responded in a deeper voice mocking the loud Republican counterpart.
The segment did exactly what those close to Clinton have been encouraging her to do to appear more personable: use her self-deprecating sense of humor she’s famous for to help boost sagging poll numbers. The two even mocked some of Clinton’s slow-to-act positions such as her opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline and support of gay marriage. “I could have supported it sooner,” fake Clinton said. “Well, you supported it pretty soon,” real Clinton said. “Yeah… coulda been sooner” said fake Clinton.
The most hilarious moment came when old SNL cast member Darrell Hammond appeared to do his Bill Clinton impression, took one look at the two HRC’s and screamed “Oh my God! They’re multiplying!” before running out of the fake Brooklyn bar.
Politicians have been trying to find ways to connect with voters in non-traditional ways for decades, and it usually works if they pull it off. Even stuffy Richard Nixon managed to appear hip for an instant when he did a five-second “Sock it to me?” on Laugh-In in 1968.
Ms. Clinton has a reputation for not trusting the media — Gee, I wonder why — so getting her to go on SNL is considered a breakthrough for getting her to appear more approachable and less scripted.
I’m pretty sure she’ll catch some grief from the Very Serious People who will say it’s beneath her to go on such a show, and from those who will note that she’s not a polished actor — at least in sketch comedy. My only thought is that she’s right when she says she “coulda been sooner,” at least in terms of letting the world see that unlike some folks out there in the political arena, she doesn’t mind a bit of self-mockery.