Where does SNL stand politically and what do you do with Dave Chapelle

Orrin Konheim
5 min readNov 14, 2022

SNL has long had a history of threading the fine political line between various parties. Because the show’s been on a million years, there’s a pseudo-sacred sense of tradition to the show more than practically any other brand and, well, staying true to your brand is important.

But these are crazy times where bad characters are taking positions of power in this country they’re not qualified for and begging the rest of us to out them (even though a disturbingly large amount of people might be supporting them politically).

So how much can SNL maintain its neutrality on a show where it’s perfectly natural for the vast majority of its cast members to be repulsed by the extremes on the right that society is veering towards.

Still, objectivity matters. When Kate McKinnon went on the air the week after Trump won to play a mournful dirge, it did show partisanship and got some backlash from past SNL alumni.

Election Week Cold Open — SNL — YouTube

The problem is that cast members like McKinnon’s colleague, Beck Bennett, often preach neutrality:

Beck Bennett talks ‘SNL’s’ delay in addressing Harvey Weinstein — YouTube

The truth is that the more neutrality the show exercises, the more credibility they have when they need to hit hard.

Of course, 1) it’s not always easy when more Republicans are doing embarrassing things, 2) the show’s writers likely are Democratics and 3) you’ll likely be attacked by the Republican press to a gret proportion, but the mainstream press carries on under those conditions anyway.

In light of this, some of the recent moves of SNL this season have been necessary for that credibility.

One was firing underperforming cast members of color in Aristotle Athari and Melissa Villasenor. In the case of the former, there’s a case to be made over whether Lorne Michaels should be firing cast members after one season when the cast is so bloated. Athari had a couple hits on SNL with the comedy robot and his melodically challenged lounge singer Angelo but if you go to YouTube you can see these skits appeared before SNL. In other words, he had a hard time coming up with new material on the show.

Lest anyone says that Lorne hasn’t been attentive to diversity, he has bended over backwards since Sasheer Zamata’s hiring to…

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Orrin Konheim

Freelance journalist w/professional bylines in 3 dozen publications, writing coach, google me. Patreon: http://www.patreon/com/okjournalist Twitter: okonh0wp