White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer is not well known for his sense of humor, but he tried to find the funny in actress Melissa McCarthy’s buzzworthy portrayal of him on this weekend’s “Saturday Night Live.”
The “Bridesmaids” star made the cameo appearance in a sketch lampooning Spicer’s combative press briefings, in which she portrayed him as evasive, petulant, emotionally unstable and a ferocious consumer of chewing gum.
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In a interview Monday on Fox News, Spicer described McCarthy’s spoof of him as “cute.”
“I’d rather us be talking about the issues that the president is so committed to helping Americans on,” he said “But you know, it’s a part of American culture.”
Spicer’s remarks are the latest salvo in the Trump administration’s public dialogue with America’s longest running satirical television franchise.
Although President Donald Trump has appeared on the show in the past, and hosted it in November 2015, he’s repeatedly lashed out at the program and the unflattering portrayal of him by actor Alec Baldwin, since this new season began.
On Twitter, Trump has called the show “unwatchable,” “the worst of NBC,” “not funny,” and “really bad television.” However, he has not explained why he continues to watch the program he claims to despise.
When pressed on this point by NBC’s Matt Lauer in early December of 2016, Trump implied that the show — now in its 42nd season, would likely be canceled soon.
“The way the show is going now and you look at the kind of work they’re doing, who knows how long that show is going to be on,” he said. “It’s a terrible show.”
On Sunday, Spicer echoed his boss’s view on the Alec Baldwin portrayal of Trump, telling “Extra”: “There’s a streak of meanness that they have kind of crossed over into.”
But some critics have argued that the show’s recent take-downs of Trump have helped it “reclaim its mojo.”
“What makes ‘SNL’s’ Trump material so brilliant is that, perhaps for the first time, the cast and crew are more than aware that Trump is watching,” wrote Salon’s Bob Cesca recently. “Rather than being deferential, ‘SNL’ is deliberately crawling up Trump’s a–, and they know it’s working, thanks to Twitter.”
Ironically, during the show’s inaugural season four decades ago, then White House Press Secretary Ron Nesson appeared to have been a better sport, hosting the show himself in April of 1976. That episode also featured a cameo from the sitting president — Gerald Ford — and some infamously risque sketches.
Meanwhile, Trump has been relatively quiet about “SNL” in recent weeks, preferring instead to lash out at the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Meryl Streep, various news organizations and the federal judge who halted the enforcement of his executive order banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.