And of all the people in the administration who have been comedy gold, Sean Spicer tops the list, given Melissa McCarthy's hilarious impression of the White House press secretary on "Saturday Night Live." Sure, Alec Baldwin's impression of Trump has been great, but there's something about McCarthy's Spicer that has even topped that.
We saw more of that last night on "SNL," where McCarthy was back as Spicer and funnier than ever.
The sketch opened with Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (played by Aidy Bryant) holding a press conference
because she claimed Spicer was away. When a reporter pointed that he could see Spicer, who's in the US Navy Reserve, outside the window hiding in the bushes, Sanders responded, "I believe that's a naval exercise. He's trying to blend in with his surroundings."
Moments later McCarthy took to the podium, pushing Sanders aside and screaming, "Spicey's back, Sarah is out!" The "SNL" audience roared.
But here's the troubling news. Trump might be canceling the Spicer show.
Not long ago Trump appeared happy with Spicer
because, he said, "That guy gets great ratings. Everyone tunes in."
But Trump's White House has been taking a beating as it fails to coordinate and get out a coherent message. The media is now abuzz with rumors that Trump, unhappy with the outrage over his firing of FBI director James Comey, might order
Spicer to clean out his desk. In fact the possibility Spicer may soon be hearing the words "You're Fired!" from Trump was a big part of "SNL's" sketch last night.
A female reporter asked McCarthy's Spicer in the sketch, "Were you surprised that he (Trump) fired Comey before you?" Her Spicer responded by ripping a pillar from the wall and throwing it at the reporter, exclaiming, "I honestly hope to God that killed her!" Soon after another reporter posed the question, "Why is everyone saying he's (Trump) about to fire you and replace you with Sarah (Huckabee Sanders)?"
Could this really be the end for Spicey?! I'd be very happy to see Trump go, but McCarthy's Spicer offers some much-needed comedic relief right now.
In fairness, McCarthy's depiction of Spicey as an over-the-top, buffoonish character has made me acutely aware of the concern some of my fellow progressives have about comedians' take on Trump. There's a fear that comedy will minimize the grave risks Trump poses to America -- at least as seen by those who oppose him. Even Baldwin
implied as much when he stated recently he might retire his Trump impression at the end of this "SNL" season next week.
On Saturday's "SNL" we saw how comedy can humanize our view of a person, as McCarthy turned Spicer into a sympathetic character. After being asked by reporters repeatedly about if he was going to be fired, an increasingly agitated "Spicer" declared, "I got to find Trump." We then saw a teary-eyed "Spicer" riding his motorized podium in the streets of New York City, saying lines like, "I promise I'll talk better," as the iconic Simon and Garfunkel song, "The Only Living Boy In New York" played underneath.
But "SNL" also showed us how comedy can be nuanced enough to still remind us of who Trump truly is. When McCarthy's Spicer finally confronted Baldwin's Trump, the press secretary asked, "Have you ever told me to say things that aren't true?" Trump/Baldwin responded, "Only since you started working here."
That made a great point that Spicer, who still bears responsibility for being complicit, is repeating and defending lies that originate with Trump.
We saw more of "SNL's" thoughtful approach to comedy moments later when "Spicer" asked "Trump" if the rumors are true that he was gong to be fired. "Trump" responded by asking "Spicer" to kiss him, to which he responded, "I can't -- I have a wife and took vows." "SNL" then reminded us of Trump's vile comments on the Access Hollywood bus when Baldwin told "Spicer," "I'm famous -- it's okay."
Overall, I would trade all the jokes that Trump and his team have supplied to comedians for a different presidential administration. But in this time of Trump, comedy is a much-needed cathartic release. And for now, McCarthy's "Spicey" may be the best antidote to Trump-induced stress.