SNL Makes America Laugh Again

By Kelsey Lange on May 18, 2017

Despite our President’s open bashing on Saturday Night Live’s content, the show has never seen better ratings in the past 20 years, with a lot of inspiration from the man himself. According to the Huffington Post, the show has had a spike in their viewership by 22 percent, specifically in the age range of 18-49 years old.

No matter your opinion on Trump’s presidency, there is no denying that he has sparked a blowup of political comedy. And even with Trump’s harsh critiques including comments like “boring,” “unfunny,” “terrible,” and “a complete hit job,” the show will continue to flourish as it has in the past six months. From what we have seen thus far, there will be plenty of content for Alec Baldwin.

The underlying aspect of SNL’s comedy is the sense of comfort that it provides from its audience, like any form of comedy. With Trump’s approval ratings at an all-time low of 40 percent, there is a lot of discomfort in America currently. Media has always been a source of distraction or even happiness. With shows like SNL, viewers can forget about the concerns they have for the country, even if just for an hour on Saturday night.

This works especially well when SNL chooses to laugh at this topic. Viewers just can’t seem to get enough of the cast’s ability to laugh at anything. SNL has always been known for their political comedy, but as of the recent election, the show has strived with all of the new content.

Fear is a very important aspect to this show’s rating increases. A lot of America is collectively afraid of the future, of the present, and of a lot of things. I can speak for my own college’s atmosphere post-election to say that there has been a large mood switch. And though it may be a stereotype that young people do not care about politics, this recent election has definitely caused an increase in awareness to our future.

With this recent spike in awareness, political comedy has become much more important to release a sense of calm to our minds. For a moment, conversations are changed from reality to parodies of reality.

Even shows similar to SNL have had recent spikes in ratings. For example, Trevor Noah’s Daily Show, Samantha Bee’s Full Frontal, and John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight are all thriving. Though these shows portray comedians and professionals, it is nice to know that you are on the same page as a plethora of shows and that the nervousness and fear that has come from the election is also shared by those you look up to and watch every week or every day.

Political comedy is also great for those that might feel that they are in the dark in the political world. Being aware and being able to laugh are two great things that go hand in hand. It also allows the audience to conduct their own opinions and encourages you to listen to those who might have a completely opposite political opinion of your own.

Even if you support Trump in everything that he does and fear is not an aspect of your life currently, I would encourage you to be a viewer of the Daily Show or Saturday Night Live some time so that you can be aware of the opinions opposed to your own.

I believe that due to this election, comedians have taken more risks than they have in many years. It has also given light to shows similar to the Daily Show and Saturday Night Live more relevancy. Noah’s Daily Show has seen some of its best ratings and according to has been the number one ranked program among millennials.

Facebook and Twitter sharing can popularize these shows just as much as the live tapings. Facebook has become an extremely political place, which I personally think is unfortunate. But the need to repost and share has become much more extreme to prove to your friends and followers which “side” you are on, pro-Trump or anti. It is also a way to show your side of the spectrum without personally ranting on your own status.

Overall, political comedy is more relevant than ever. There is no greater feeling than being able to laugh at something that might feel like it can tear you down. Humor allows the audiences of this type of media to come together. Despite the Twitter bashing from the president himself, there is no doubt that SNL, the Daily Show, Full Frontal, Last Week Tonight, and many more shows will continue to gain viewership and popularity.

Hi! I am a Professional Writing major at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania and will graduate in May. The past four years have expanded my knowledge in all aspects of this field and fueled my passion for writing. I have had six poems published in Kutztown University's Shoofly literary magazine within the past three years. I am also a contributing copy editor and poetry reader for the magazine. I am ecstatic to have articles published for Uloop News while interning this semester.

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