Bernie Sanders took a pause from campaigning this past weekend in order to travel to New York for what has become a mandatory stop in any presidential hopeful’s campaign, the all-important “Saturday Night Live” appearance.
The Vermont senator and Democrat presidential candidate currently has his eye on what may turn out to be his first victory of the electoral season, a New Hampshire win over Hillary Clinton.
“Seinfeld” co-creator and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” star Larry David, who has portrayed Sanders several times on “SNL,” hosted the most recent show and even appeared alongside the real Sanders in a memorable segment.
As is the case with a majority of the public, Sanders’ advisors are certainly aware of the uncanny resemblance that exists between Sanders and David in, among other things, appearance, voice, and demeanor.
“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,” Sanders himself quipped at a recent Iowa campaign stop, adding, “he [David] does it better than I do.”
Clinton has already made a guest appearance on “SNL” and Trump has actually hosted a show.
The current Democratic front-runner acted in an October 2015 skit alongside a Hillary impersonator played by Kate McKinnon. Portraying candidate Clinton, McKinnon nurses a drink at a local tavern while the real Hillary, in her role as Val the bartender, serves up advice and adult beverages.
The segment provided the Clinton campaign with an image makeover for Hillary at a time when she very much needed humanizing.
In November 2015 Trump appeared as himself standing next to a duo of Donald impersonators. Interestingly, David was included in a spoof, where he proceeded to heckle the host and jokingly talk about receiving reward money for hurling a specific insult.
Viewers of the latest “SNL” show may have been expecting to see a sketch similar to those in which Clinton and Trump had appeared. Instead they were treated to humorous fare that was equally entertaining, but quirky as well.
In an early parody of the night, “SNL” audience members were shown an introductory segment in the form of pre-filmed footage that appears to be a new HBO series called “Bern Your Enthusiasm.” The faux show features David in the role of Sanders at an Iowa rally.
When one of the enthusiastic female supporters approaches David, who is playing Sanders, the candidate refuses to shake her hand because she has just coughed into it.
“You specifically coughed into your hand, I saw it!” exclaims the Sanders character. “She’s the one who’s being rude by offering a germ-infested hand! I’m running for president, I do not shake disgusting hands.”
While at a local diner, the pretend Sanders is asked for help from a female supporter who has been injured in a car crash.
“I think I dislocated my shoulder, so could you just pop it back in?” the woman anxiously asks.
“Pop it back in? Are you nuts?” replies David as Sanders. “I don’t want [the vote] that bad! I’m from Brooklyn! We don’t pop in Brooklyn. I have no popping experience!”
In another bit, the two curmudgeons appear together in a sendup of a scene from the movie “Titanic,” in which Sanders’ class warfare campaign meme becomes comedic fodder.
David appears in a scene from the imagined movie as one of the ship’s crew members, who is upset that women and children are being given the first seats in the lifeboats.
After David’s character demands a place in one of the boats because he happens to be wealthier than the other passengers, the real Sanders, looking like Leonardo DiCaprio’s “Titanic” character, makes an auspicious entrance.
Sanders uses the language of his presidential campaign as a vehicle to lampoon himself.
“Hold on, hold on, wait a second! I am so sick of the one percent getting this preferential treatment!” Sanders exclaims.
In stump-style, he then yells, “Enough is enough!”
“We need to unite and work together if we’re all going to get through this,” he adds.
“Sounds like socialism to me!” David cracks.
“Democratic socialism!” Bernie snaps back.
“Ahh, what’s the difference?” David asks.
Sanders then gives Trump a little poke, saying, “Huge difference. Huge!”
The comedic timing was reminiscent of classic “Seinfeld” exchanges between Jerry and sidekicks George and Elaine.
As it stands, the Sanders camp must no doubt be pleased with the “SNL” appearance. The Hillary challenger showed a humbleness in his ability to take a ribbing, demonstrated an ample degree of comfort on stage as well as in his own skin, and embraced the role of a good sport.
In so doing, he, too, humanized himself in much the same way Clinton did.
What he accomplished in addition, though, is something that continues to elude Hillary; and that is, to be simply liked by the people. This is something that stems from authenticity, which is a quality that is exaggerated when one appears on the big or little screen.
Sanders’ “SNL” appearance, coming on the heels of the New Hampshire primary, couldn’t be better for Bernie or potentially any more horrible for Hillary.
James Hirsen, J.D., M.A., in media psychology, is a New York Times best-selling author, media analyst, and law professor. Visit Newsmax TV Hollywood. Read more reports from James Hirsen — Click Here Now.
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