Gary Conkling Life Notes

Mostly whimsical reflections on life

The Larry and Bernie Show

You know a candidate is serious, or at least seriously funny, when they are lampooned on Saturday Night Live.

Bernie and LarryBernie Sanders gets his turn this weekend when Larry David, his satirical surrogate, hosts SNL. The show hasn’t seen this much anticipated glee since two weeks ago when Tina Fey reprised her better-than-the-original Sarah Palin.

Sanders, whom one of his youthful supporters affectionately described as a kind-looking old geezer, is ripe for lampooning. He presses his lips, shakes his head, waves his arms and launches into his political talking points with minimal provocation.

How could SNL resist, especially after Sanders’ strong showing in Iowa, his projected victory in next week’s New Hampshire primary and fresh national poll results that have him closing in on putative frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

Comedian Larry David is a perfect fit to caricature Sanders. David volunteered to “do” Sanders because they have a physical resemblance and the bit was too juicy to pass up. Playing along, Sanders told CNN townhall moderator Anderson Cooper that “I am Larry David.” That’s as close as Sanders gets to telling a joke.

But his surprising presidential campaign is no joke. And SNL thinks it may partly be the blame.

Larry David and Beernie SandersDavid has portrayed Sanders in previous shows and at least one SNL cast member thinks “Larry’s so likable in a crazy, curmudgeon way, that he makes you think, ‘Oh yeah, Bernie Sanders! I always liked him.'”

Sanders more or less agrees. He told an Iowa rally, “In terms of Larry David, I think we’re going to put him up on the stage at our next rally – let him do it rather than me. He does it better than I do.”

A cameo by Sanders on SNL confronting his impersonator wouldn’t be unique. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have done it.  President George H.W. Bush thought Dana Carvey, his SNL impersonator, was so funny, he invited him to perform at the White House. Who can forget Chevy Chase as President Ford and Will Ferrell as Dubya.

With his appeal to younger voters, Sanders is the perfect target for SNL, which coincidentally is trying to attract the younger audience that has flocked to Sanders. David’s inevitable recitation of Sanders’ signature lines about Wall Street, corrupting contributors and political revolution will be turned into punchlines and, in turn, into YouTube video that gains wide circulation. It will be one more way that Sanders goes from fringe candidate to the main stage.

The New York Times reports David will actually interview Sanders. Or maybe the other way round.

Fake Bernie and HillaryWhen Clinton appeared on SNL, her impersonator Kate McKinnon nursed a stiff drink at a bar while overhearing customers talk up voting for Donald Trump. The real Clinton was a pretend bartender watching this bizarre scene from behind the bar.

Trump’s outsized ego required two impersonators to match him boast for boast. David also played a role in Trump’s appearance, shouting “racist” from off stage. Trump probably wanted to call his security guards to remove David.

SNL’s sketch comedy is some of the best around and its presidential spoofs are superb, can’t-miss TV. SNL can’t promise the Colbert Report bump, but it can pretty much guarantee some good belly laughs.



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