The thing 'SNL' does to Trump

'Weekend Update' roasts Trump's sons, Scaramucci
'Weekend Update' roasts Trump's sons, Scaramucci

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'Weekend Update' roasts Trump's sons, Scaramucci 01:18

Story highlights

  • "SNL"'s new "Weekend Update" show in prime time skewered Trump, who's very sensitive to "SNL," writes Dean Obeidallah
  • Obeidallah: Show provides comic catharsis for America between "SNL" seasons. Silver lining for Trump? Episodes only 30 minutes

Dean Obeidallah, a former attorney, is the host of SiriusXM radio's daily program "The Dean Obeidallah Show" and a columnist for The Daily Beast. Follow him @deanofcomedy. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his.

(CNN)Trump's "locked and loaded" standoff with North Korea has Americans in high anxiety, hair-pulling among White House officials may be stalling his agenda, Robert Mueller's Russia campaign-interference probe appears to be heating up with the recent FBI raid of President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and Trump faces the lowest-ever approval ratings for a president at this time in his first term.

But things may be getting worse for the President: "Saturday Night Live" is back! Starting last night and airing the next three Thursdays, we will see an all-new, 30-minute live prime-time edition of "Weekend Update."
The first episode served as a reminder of the vital, cathartic role that "SNL" has played during the Trump presidency, making (many) in America and beyond laugh, while spotlighting Trump's failings.
    Let the late-night tweets from the White House begin.
    For those who have forgotten how much "SNL" sends Trump into a tizzy, here's a quick refresher from his Twitter account. "Time to retire the boring and unfunny show. Alec Baldwin portrayal stinks. Media rigging election!"
    Even after Trump won the election, he was still lashing out at "SNL." In November, he slammed the show as "one sided," claiming the show featured "nothing funny at all."
    And just a week before being sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, there was Trump again whining about "SNL": "...Not funny, cast is terrible, always a complete hit job. Really bad television!" (It would be great to see Trump direct that type of passion at Russia for interfering in our election, instead of bizarrely praising Putin for expelling hundreds of US diplomatic staffers from Russia, as he did this week.
    "SNL" showed Thursday night that it is indeed ready to mix it up with the leader of the free world. In last night's edition, anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che took turns comically pummeling Trump before a studio audience that appeared hungry for just that.
    The show opened with jokes mocking Trump's threat Wednesday to rain "fire and fury" on North Korea. After playing a clip of a cross-armed angry Trump lashing out at North Korea, Che joked, "unfold your arms. You look like a Jeff Dunham puppet" as the image of "Walter," Dunham's famous angry old man puppet, appeared on screen.
    Jost added, "You can't threaten someone when you are sitting down ... even FDR stood up when he was talking tough."
    The show used comedy to remind us of the Trump-related scandals that have continued apace during the three months inter-season period while "SNL" has been off the air. There was Donald Trump Jr. (played by Mikey Day) and Eric Trump (Alex Moffat) reprising their comedy partnership with jokes about Donald Jr.'s meeting with a Russian lawyer to get dirt on Hillary Clinton -- and Donald Trump's help in crafting son Don Jr.'s original tall tale to the American public about the meeting.
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    There was the uncanny cameo appearance by former "SNL" member Bill Hader channeling former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci.
    When asked by Che if he had any regrets about his short stint in the White House, Hader responded, "The Mooch has no regrets, baby!" adding, "All I did was sell my company, miss the birth of my child and ruin my entire reputation, all to be king of idiot mountain for 11 days."
    Yes, the "SNL" return will likely provoke the President, but there's one silver lining for him -- the prime-time "Weekend Update" episodes are only 30 minutes long, as opposed to typical 90-minute episodes. So from now until the show's new season kicks off in October, Trump can take heart: there will be one-third less punchlines at his expense.