The now-former Republican consultant George Santos was an ideal match for the present’s satire.
Saturday Night time Dwell likes to put a politician in entrance of a piano. Most famously, Kate McKinnon, enjoying Hillary Clinton, sat down in entrance of the keys and earnestly belted Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” following Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump within the 2016 presidential election. It felt like a second of contrition for this system that had invited Trump on as host throughout his marketing campaign, to a lot criticism.
Final night time’s episode had one other political piano bit, however this time it was loads much less solemn. As George Santos, the now-former Republican consultant who was expelled from the Home this previous week, Bowen Yang made like Elton John and crooned his personal model of “Candle within the Wind,” retitled “Scandal within the Wind.”
“They’ll consider me as the trendy Princess Diana and the trendy Marilyn Monroe,” Yang defined earlier than bursting into the track mostly related to each of these ladies and their tragic deaths. Yang, nevertheless, altered the lyrics for Santos’s defiance within the face of a mountain of allegations: “They crawled out of the woodwork / They whispered, ‘He used my donations for Botox’ and I stated, ‘It was fillers, slut.’”
Santos was an ideal goal for SNL partially as a result of his fabrications and alleged conduct have been transparently outlandish. He claimed that he was Jewish and then stated he was really “Jew-ish.” In response to Home ethics investigators, he used marketing campaign funds on designer merchandise, beauty enhancements, and OnlyFans. (Santos has typically denied the allegations.) Yang, brazenly homosexual like Santos, performed him with catty excellence, like he was a forged member on a actuality sequence.
Nonetheless, the truth that the Santos bit was the standout sketch on an episode hosted by Emma Stone was uncommon. This season, past Yang often popping up within the position of Santos, SNL’s political materials has appeared particularly lackluster. In October, the present quietly launched a brand new model of Joe Biden portrayed by Mikey Day. Day changed James Austin Johnson, who additionally at the moment performs Trump—an outgrowth of his splendidly surreal rants because the ex-president, shot earlier than he was even forged on SNL.
Anointing Day as Biden appeared like a delicate transfer in preparation for the approaching 2024 election season, an indication that the present’s producer, Lorne Michaels, isn’t going to depend on movie star appearances, as when Alec Baldwin would drop in as Trump in the course of the latter’s candidacy and presidency to bloviate for a bit in the course of the chilly open. Day’s Biden hasn’t to date gained traction or felt important—the primary joke appears to be “He’s previous,” with little nuance. Nobody appears to be aching for SNL to deal with Biden’s response to the Israel-Hamas struggle; fortunately, the present hasn’t tried. But there’s a selected toothlessness to Day’s Biden showing alongside Yang in a fluffy swimsuit (as Large Panda Tian Tian) to attempt to skewer U.S.-China relations, as occurred a few weeks in the past.
The grand farewell to Santos additionally felt like a sign of how a lot the writers are going to overlook having him as an object of ridicule, partially as a result of ridiculing him was so easy. He was a bipartisan goal, who in the end misplaced the help of even his personal occasion. He was additionally an inherently absurd determine whose fibs have been largely innocent, principally hurting his personal repute and the broader congressional establishment (which is already tremendously unpopular).
Santos’s theatricality match proper into the SNL milieu—so even when he’s gone from Congress, I might wager he gained’t disappear from SNL’s repertoire. Political satire requires having a powerful, recognizable tackle public figures, and since 2016, the present has struggled to seek out its angle on the period’s main characters (apart from Trump). Yang’s iteration of Santos was instantly memorable, and that’s a tough factor to surrender. As he sang in his quantity, “You all bought to giggle at me, and I say, ‘Fortunate you.’”