Donald Trump’s Twitter silence on Melissa McCarthy’s Internet-shaking Saturday Night Live performance might say more than all his responses to Alec Baldwin combined, but McCarthy’s fellow comics haven’t been nearly so quiet.
“Melissa McCarthy is a modern-day Jackie Gleason,” says Seth MacFarlane. A “108 MPH fastball,” praises Seth Meyers. Artie Lange, known for his work with Howard Stern and on SNL‘s old rival Mad TV, calls McCarthy’s season-stealing turn “as good a performance as TV has ever seen.”
McCarthy’s surprise appearance Saturday as Trump press spokesman Sean Spicer — sputtering, irate, combative, unhinged — has brought the long-running SNL massive attention (and good ratings), even for a season that dropped Baldwin’s portrayal of Trump squarely into the center of the cultural zeitgeist.
And while the president didn’t hold back in his dislike — which might be too soft a word — for Baldwin, he hasn’t tweeted a word on McCarthy (yet). Spicer himself said last night the performance was “cute” but took good-natured issue with the gum-chewing.
Now, the website Politico, citing anonymous sources, reports that Trump was “rattled.” And that “it was Spicer’s portrayal by a woman that was most problematic in the president’s eyes.” And that “the unflattering send-up by a female comedian was not considered helpful for Spicer’s longevity in the grueling, high-profile job.” A top Trump donor, Politico writes, says the president “doesn’t like his people to look weak.”
On MSNBC’s 11th Hour tonight, contributor Nicolle Wallace, who was a senior advisor on the John McCain-Sarah Palin campaign, said she saw first-hand how SNL can needle its political targets. Tina Fey’s famous portrayal of Palin, Wallace said, not only got under Palin’s skin, “it got in her head.”
In any case, McCarthy’s peers, along with members of Trump’s various “opposition” parties and even an ex-ballplayer, have been laughing for days. Rosie O’Donnell was so impressed, she’s offered to join the party and play Steve Bannon:
With all the attention, a return appearance seems a no-brainer, especially with Baldwin hosting SNL this weekend for a record 17th time. And the show’s Steve Bannon portrayer – underneath all that Grim Reaper garb – is always nearby: McCarthy’s Instagram photo all but confirms my speculation that cast member Mikey Day is the mask-wearer.