"Saturday Night Live” may have found its most uncharitable caricature of someone in President Trump's orbit this weekend, featuring Kate McKinnon's Kellyanne Conway as the scary clown from Stephen King's recently revitalized film “It.”
The real butt of the joke, though, is cable news.
In the highly cinematic prerecorded sketch, CNN's Anderson Cooper (played by Alex Moffat) stumbles upon Conway in full Pennywise makeup in a sewer on a stormy night. While down there, she promises Cooper buzzy and crazy quotes — “Puerto Rico actually was worse before Hurricane Maria, and the hurricane did actually blow some buildings back together,” for example — in exchange for getting booked on his show.
The concept of a Conway desperate for TV airtime is a familiar one for SNL. And Trump backers, if they're still watching, will note the shot at Conway's appearance. “What'd you do to your makeup?” Cooper asks, to which Conway responds: “I toned it down.”
The joke also comes at the expense of Cooper and cable news — and really, all news — for its reliance on covering the outlandish things that come from the mouths of Team Trump. In the sketch, Conway is the “dancing clown,” but she is a tempting one, there to distract and monopolize the attention of the media. Her tricks even work on liberal MSNBC host Rachel Maddow.
Trump himself, of course, is no stranger to such conduct, and he got his time in a somewhat standard-issue cold open with Alec Baldwin.
The Conway short, though, is the one that should have people talking Sunday. And it was by far the more provocative one, both for what it says about Conway and the media that covers her and her ilk.