This weekend, SNL added another cutting impression to their sustained and brutal mockery of President Donald Trump: comedienne Melissa McCarthy as Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
McCarthy’s portrayal of Spicer as a deranged, gum-obsessed, squirt-gun-wielding liar was nothing short of brilliant. There’s no shortage of details there for Spicer (and Trump) to be offended by and for the rest of us to hold onto as a brief comedic respite from despair. But according to Politico, it wasn’t the impression itself that bothered the president, as much as the fact that it was done by a woman.
“More than being lampooned as a press secretary who makes up facts, it was Spicer’s portrayal by a woman that was most problematic in the president’s eyes, according to sources close to him,” Politico reports, quoting an unnamed “top Trump donor” as saying, “Trump doesn’t like his people to look weak.”
When you’re done rolling your eyes at how absurd it is that these powerful men still find any feminization to be the biggest insult possible, you’ll realize they’ve exposed a weakness too tempting to ignore.
Twitter saw the opening right away, and called for Trump’s long-time rival Rosie O’Donnell to exploit this newfound sensitivity by giving us her impression of Trump’s most-hated appointee, Steve Bannon. When someone on Twitter asked O’Donnell if she’d be willing to “take one for the team” by gracing SNL with her Bannon impression, she responded, “i am here to serve - alec has trump - melissa has spice - i would need a few days to prepare - so if called - i will be ready.” Her willingness prompted an outpouring of vindictive enthusiasm from fans hoping to see Trump and Co. humiliated.
It may be petty to revel in the backward, misogynistic sensitivities that now haunt the executive branch, but we have to find ways to keep ourselves sane. (It’s called self-care.) The name of the game is to keep constant pressure on, to stay alert and resist at every turn. That means pushing Trump’s buttons, keeping him uncomfortable, and reminding him that the majority of the country didn’t want him in office and some 40% already want to impeach him. If that means mocking his fragile masculinity by bringing in women to roast his cronies, so be it.
An all-female comedic assault would be in line with the fact that, as Rebecca Traister points out in a recent New York Magazine piece, women are leading the resistance against Trump—from the defiant actions of Kirsten Gillibrand and Sally Yates to the unprecedented turnout of the Women’s March. The resistance is female, so why shouldn’t the roast be as well?
Comedy has always been an important part of speaking truth to power—from Shakespeare’s fools to Jon Stewart keeping us sane during the Bush years. Under Trump, we have SNL. Alec Bladwin’s disturbing and perfect impression of Trump is clearly doing a fine job of getting under the president’s very thin skin—so much so that he tweets about it just about every week. But what if Amy Schumer stepped in, just for one episode? Would that be enough to send the despot’s fragile masculinity spinning out of control?
While we imagine the tantrum-to-end-all-tantrums that Trump would throw if Schumer donned orange makeup and needled his fragile ego, here are four other suggestions of female comedians who could portray Trump’s other cronies.
- Kristen Schal as Paul Ryan
- Amy Poehler as Mike Pence
- Sarah Silverman as Steven Mnuchin
- Sam Bee as James Mattis
Unfortunately (or fortunately?), no working female comedians today look enough like a deflated lizard to play Mitch McConnell.