One of the reasons that I stopped watching Saturday Night Live many years ago is that the tone of the acting seemed to change. Actors, as a matter of course, deal with the unreal, and throw themselves into roles to make themselves believable as the characters that they portray.
This is also true for a show like Saturday Night Live, regardless of the fact that a lot of these characters are portrayals of real people, and done with large helpings of satire and sarcasm. However, it seems like there came a point, probably in the early 2000s or so, when there seemed to be a change from actors doing humor and satire and really getting into the roles and, by and large, enjoying them to where it seemed like every skit was done with an edge of insincerity, as though basically they are trying to convince the audience that they’ve discovered the false world the stage is, and every performance is going to demonstrate that it’s all a lie. Call it “creepy clown complex” or some such.
There’s nothing particularly earth-shattering about these observations, I suppose, but one of the things that stuck out to me during the first Presidential Debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton was Clinton’s affect – it seemed as though it came from the modern Saturday Night Live. There was absolutely nothing that convinced me that anything that came from her mouth had any connection to what she was thinking or feeling; that the words she said were like a Saturday Night Live script, overperformed with that air of insincerity that has taken over a lot of sketch comedy these days. Trump may not have had a stellar performance, but if anything, it seemed like there’s a real person behind the mask, which is why, despite Clinton’s much more ‘polished’ performance, it didn’t seem to make people feel like she won.
I have no idea whether Saturday Night Live is in a new season, or if there’ll be a new episode on this Saturday night. However, if there is, I do have to wonder how they would handle this comedically, being as Clinton seems to have already mastered insincerity as an art form.