With midterm elections looming, “Saturday Night Live” edged into its more political mode, encouraging its viewers in a couple of instances to get out and vote to preserve abortion rights.
The monologue came on the heels of a fake tourism ad for Colorado that Schumer created for her Paramount Plus sketch comedy show, “Inside Amy Schumer,” which stirred controversy as it went viral. The ad begins innocuously enough with a plaid-shirt-and-vest-clad Schumer espousing the best parts of the Centennial State.
“Come for the fresh air, the perfect mountain’s majesty, a magical night under a magical sky. Whatever kind of experience you’re looking for, you can find it here, in Colorado,” she begins. Then, as images of cities and, soon, a reproductive health clinic pops on screen, she says, “We also have bustling town centers and access to all the services you may need.”
“Not that you need some big dramatic reason to come to Colorado,” Schumer adds. “No one should have to justify a trip to Colorado. Maybe you just want to do with your own body what you want to do with your own body. If that’s ‘come to Colorado,’ that’s all right by us. … There are even organizations that will help you get to Colorado and experience Colorado and recover from Colorado, as discreetly as you please.”
During SNL’s “Weekend Update,” segment, co-anchor Colin Jost introduced Tammy the Trucker (played by Cecily Strong) “who promises she is here to talk about gas prices and not abortion.”
Dressed in a red flannel shirt, aviator sunglasses and a trucker hat, and holding a steering wheel and a CB radio mic, Strong slid over to the desk. “All I’m here to talk about is gas, even though the Supreme Court sent Roe v. Wade to that big pit stop in the sky,” she said, hitting the horn on her steering wheel. “Beep beep! Fifty years of precedent! Beep beep!”
Jost, sensing that maybe the Tammy the Trucker character is a front, asked, “Cecily, are you okay? It seems like maybe you do want to talk about abortion.”
“I’m Tina the trucker, or whatever name I gave you,” Strong responded, before fully breaking character. “I’m just trying to get through his moment, okay? Gas prices are up, and families are really hurting. But that’s not going to magically disappear no matter who you vote for. We’re in a global recession, fueled by corporate greed and war. Honk honk! Breaker breaker! But what will keep disappearing is safe access to abortion. It’s not really magic, because they told us that’s exactly what they’re going to do, and they’ve been doing it.”
“These are scary times, because they don’t want to just take away access to health care. They want to criminalize it too,” she continued. “I mean, it’s so bad us truckers are all out here warning each other to delete our period-tracking apps from our phones. I just want to know what week I wear my bad underwear, but I can’t, in case some d---head in Texas thinks my period is evidence of a crime.”
“My point is you shouldn’t have to pull the convoy across state lines to find a doctor who will provide health care for your anatomy without having to call their lawyer first,” she added. “The truth is I have felt pretty helpless over the past year, and it’s hard to know what to say to make other truckers feel better, even though I have this big giant radio. So there’s one thing I can say: There’s one mother-truckin’ thing we can do to fight for mother-truckin’ freedom to make our own health care decisions, and that’s vote. And I hope to hell everyone votes, because remember, we all love someone’s who had an abortion. I mean, drives a truck.”
Strong herself is among that number. In November 2021, she appeared on Weekend Update as “Goober the Clown, who had an abortion when she was 23” right after the U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments in two cases challenging Texas’ six-week abortion restriction. The setup was similar: Goober didn’t want to talk about abortion, but Jost sensed that maybe she actually did.
“I actually really don’t, but people keep bringing it up so I got to keep talking about freakin’ abortion,” Strong, in a red nose and spinning bow tie, told him. “But it’s a rough subject so we’re going to do fun clown stuff to make it more palatable. Whee!”