Satire in SNL’s Weekend Update

Regularly scheduled satire can sometimes be hard to find, but you can always count on a clip of Weekend Update in the TV show Saturday Night Live.

Colin Jost and Michael Che pose as news anchors, reporting on the current events and politics of the past week. In this episode, the hosts talk about the length of Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, commenting on Adam Schiff’s time on TV, the republican defense (a shrug emoji), and the fidget spinners brought by some members of congress. They also mention Hunter Biden’s involvement in the trial, the government’s inability to throw Trump out of office, and Trump’s leaked conversation with “adult cabbage patch doll” Lev Parnas.

The predominant satirical technique used in this show is parody: SNL is replicating the news, complete with a blue back ground, pop-up pictures, anchors reading from teleprompters, and current events.

Depending on the episode, Weekend Update uses a variety of other techniques. For example in this episode, Collin Jost uses hyperbole asking, “Was Adam Schiff on my television for 100 hours?” He also uses sarcasm, saying “Some republican senators even brought fidget spinners to play with. I assume to symbolize how the founding fathers are spinning in their graves”

Despite the laughs, the writers of SNL are commenting on more serious aspects of current events. In this episode, they show Trump’s inability to speak eloquently in times of distress, an important tool to have as a leader. Michael Che’s character especially comments on how the average american has gotten used to this behavior, and has become bored with the impeachment trial. Citizens are not asking more from their president but instead settling for the name-calling and bullying of our current president, which should be changed.

4 thoughts on “Satire in SNL’s Weekend Update

  1. Kirsten K

    Weekend update is a creative way to get people to pay attention to the world around them or simple update them. While also making it fun and providing a few laughs especially about not so happy topics.


  2. Karim A.

    I wonder if there is a tradeoff with being entertaining and being informative as the skit always seems to be heavily biased and exaggerated. SNL cannot be a substitute for actual news but it can be meaningful when one already knows what is going on.


  3. Logan G

    SNL has been pushing the limits of satire for years and is not willing to stop. SNL is a great form of satire by using real-world problems that affect us every day.



    I have always loved watching Weekend Update on SNL, and it’s my favorite part of the show! I really loved how you analyzed the serious underlying issues that the Weekend Update highlights about the United States through satire, more recently the current political environment.


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