The Satirical Side of the Election

The 2020 presidential election on Tuesday, Nov. 3 was the start of several days of vote counting across the United States. Throughout the days of waiting for election results and following the announcement of Joe Biden’s win, many Americans coped with humor. 

“Satire is always necessary, as it’s an expression of the First Amendment,” said junior Dan Giovaniello. 

Among the variety of media outlets to poke fun at the election, Saturday Night Live (SNL) was no exception. The sixth SNL episode this season aired on Nov. 7, the same day that Biden earned the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win. 

Just hours after Biden and Harris appeared on stage in Wilmington, Del. to give a victory speech, SNL was ready with a cold open based on the event. Jim Carrey and Maya Rudolph appeared on SNL as Biden and Harris, respectively, wearing outfits identical to those worn by the President- and Vice President-Elect during the victory speech earlier that night. 

“I’m going to be a president for all Americans,” said Carrey as Biden. “Whether you’re from a liberal state like California, or a conservative state like Oklahoma, or a cracked-out hot mess like Florida, I will be your president.” 

Carrey and Rudolph’s opening bit was the number-one trending video on YouTube the day after it aired. 

The episode also featured a mock concession speech done by Alec Baldwin as President Donald Trump, who sang and played a rendition of “Macho Man” on the piano. 

“This isn’t goodbye America, I’m just gonna say, see you in court,” said Baldwin as Trump. 

Comedian and SNL host, Dave Chapelle, opened the episode with a monologue as well. Chapelle joked about his opinion on whether America was really a safer place with President Trump out of office, people who refuse to wear masks and Trump contracting COVID-19. 

“When he [President Trump] got coronavirus, they said everything about it on the news, but you know what they didn’t say? That it was funny as hell,” said Chapelle. 

In response to the satire surrounding the election, senior Paul Riccio said, “I think it’s fine as long as it’s okay to go after both parties. Neither party should be demonized.” 

Outside of mainstream media, political satire has been spreading on smaller platforms. Social media users on apps including Twitter, Reddit and TikTok have used the election to create content that has spread to different parts of the internet. 

One of the memes produced by this election season came from the fly that landed on Mike Pence’s head during the Vice Presidential Debate. This moment went viral with countless memes, political cartoons, and jokes following the debate. The Biden-Harris campaign released a fly swatter with the phrase “Truth Over Flies” written on it. 

Another trend that gained popularity on TikTok was one in which users took an audio clip from TI’s song “Whatever You Like.” The real lyrics are “I want yo’ body, need yo’ body,” but the words can be misheard as, “I want Joe Biden, I need Joe Biden,” especially when paired with video clips of the President-Elect, as many TikTok users have done. 

Junior Zach Standen said, “I don’t think there was any satire that was unfair or went too far. I think that the important thing is to look at the messaging behind the satire and I think some satire was pushing a false narrative, but overall, it wasn’t unfair.” 

Clips from the SNL episode from Nov. 7 can be found on the official SNL YouTube channel.

About the author

Staff Writer

Leave a Reply