“This was one of our most amazing years we ever had, everything changed, every day,” said Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels about the process of parodying and keeping up in a mercurial news cycle spurred by President Donald Trump.
Tonight, SNL collected four Emmys — best supporting comedy actor Alec Baldwin, best supporting comedy actress Kate McKinnon, variety series directing Don Roy King, and best variety sketch series– on top of the two guest Emmys from last weekend for Melissa McCarthy and Dave Chappelle, making for a total of six this season. To date, SNL counts 64 Emmy wins, with tonight’s outstanding variety sketch series win being their first since 1993, when the category was called outstanding variety series.
“It was incredibly important for us to get it right,” said Michaels about last season’s show, which jabbed at the inflammatory hijinks and players in President Donald Trump’s administration. “An opening on Wednesday would be obsolete by Thursday. Because it’s live, you have to be accurate and of the moment, and it only works if it’s fresh, the point of view is clear, and most of all, if it’s funny.” Michaels fielded questions tonight following his win in the Emmy press room.
Asked his thoughts on having a show that can be a weekly soapbox that can make a difference with the country’s social conscience, Michaels responded, “The thing about broadcast is that you’re always on in all 50 states. Not all of them are going to agree with what you’re doing. When people have a clear bias, people stop listening.”
But it doesn’t matter if it’s Red or White in the White House, “Whoever is in power should be questioned,” said Michaels.
But despite Trump deriding SNL‘s satire, Michaels says that when it comes to hearing from those that SNL pokes fun of, it’s not as bad as the 1970s when the show first began. “In the ’70s, we heard a lot. But no one is watching who doesn’t know what we do.”
Michaels mentioned that they submitted the episode in which Chappelle guest-starred because “It was right after the election. We were writing as the results were coming in. Dave had to change what he was going to say, there was so much going on. Just a sense as we were heading to 11:30pm on Saturday, we didn’t quite know what was going to happen. I think the show turned out well.”
“There were a few times we had to rewrite stuff the night before and it’s just a testament to how quick and incredible the writers are, like a sport racing to the finish line.”
“You can’t go into it thinking you’re going to change anything,” responded Michaels when asked about SNL‘s power to impact change and the responsibility that comes with that. “We try to be funny and in some way illuminate or show a point of view that no one has thought of.”
Asked by the press how many episodes he’ll portray Donald Trump before he’s impeached, winner Baldwin tonight answered, “The answer is between three and 103.”
“People are overwhelmed. We’re in a situation where a critical mass of people don’t accept where we are. Everyday that feeling is reinforced by the thoughts and deeds of this person. I find myself as a conduit for that. They’re suffering a great deal, they’re confused, and in pain. They slap me on the back and thank me for easing this pain,” said Baldwin on the response he’s received from fans for his riotous and sublime portrayal of Trump on the NBC sketch series.
Said McKinnon, “Satire is so important. Whenever there’s anything floating around in the national consciousness, the salience of our show this year proves that.”