I watched the Saturday Night Live debate sketch twice today, because it appeared on my feed probably about 10 times (one of the things I find irritating on facebook. Once I’ve seen a thing once, and commented on it, I don’t need to see it again – without my comment. That’s just frustrating), and I thought it was pretty funny.
Generally, they were accompanied by a teaser line like “Larry David is perfect as Bernie Sanders” or “Larry David Nails It.” No, he didn’t. He was really funny, especially the part about only owning one pair of underwear and drying them on the radiator. When he said “Some of these billionaires, they have 3, 4 pairs of underwear, I did laugh out loud, really out loud.
But being really funny and doing a perfect impression are different things. He was not perfect in the role of Sanders, in the same sense that Tina Fey was perfect as Sarah Palin, so perfect that people confused her for Palin, that people forgot (like immediately) that “I can see Russia from my house” was Fey’s line, and not Palin’s.
Rich Little was pretty good as Richard Nixon, too, but that’s way ancient history.
No, what David did was a very funny Jewish old man. Nothing wrong with that. Bernie Sanders is an old Jewish man who looks, and talks, like an old Jewish man.
Like Albert Einstein. Like Mel Brooks. Old Jewish men are a staple of comedy. Loaded with stereotypical speech and behavioral patterns, plenty of attitude, and crazy hair. What’s not to laugh?
I think one of the reasons the sketch went over so well was that people like that character, and they like Bernie Sanders. Even most of his opponents (within the Democratic party) say their main reason for opposing him is they don’t think he can win. But almost nobody doesn’t like Bernie Sanders.
He’s a quirky, funny old Jewish man. And he’s going to be the next president of the United States.