Out of all the presidents elected during Saturday Night Live’s nearly 45-year history of sticking it to presidents, Donald Trump is the one most hell-bent on sticking it back to the show. Over the weekend, Trump tweeted his outrage over an episode that was actually a rerun, threatening SNL with a federal investigation.
Apparently, however, Donald Trump is far from the only one disenchanted with Saturday Night Live’s political digs at the moment. According to a new study, a rather significant number of Americans are, too.
The Hollywood Reporter teamed up with tech and media company Morning Consult on the poll, which found that “39% [of respondents] agreed with the sentiment that the series ‘has gotten too political,’ while 30% disagree.” The number that thinks there are exactly the right amount of political sketches on the show: 37%. The poll even breaks down the data across ideological lines, with 55% of Republicans claiming the show features too much politics, while just 14% of Democrats agree.
Of course, there’s a high chance that most people who think there’s too much politics on SNL probably think there’s too much politics in our lives right now, and they would not be incorrect. Donald Trump is a reality-show president and consummate narcissist, with an undeniable talent for keeping the national focus on him at all times. And since Newton’s third law requires every action to meet with an equal and opposite reaction, Trump’s political opponents inevitably end up requisitioning a large share of national attention as well. The result of keeping up with a nonstop spigot of political news is that, as comedy writer Chase Mitchell put it recently, “I haven’t had an enjoyable conversation in three years.”
Saturday Night Live is a social mirror of every era in which it airs. If this era happens to be uniquely turgid with politics, it only makes sense that the show would follow suit. Anyone who thinks the show has “too much politics” at the moment is probably just sick of that musty Alec Baldwin impression.