Which politician insisted SNL should pay for their kid's braces? Which SNL impression sent a political figure into therapy? In public, most politicians pretend their Saturday Night Live impressions, which can be downright brutal, don't bother them. Several presidents have even publicly appeared with their SNL doppelgängers, including George H.W. Bush and Gerald Ford. But in private, some politicians feel very differently about SNL's attempts to imitate them for laughs.
While most politicians try to laugh off SNL's impressions, some don't handle the satire very well. How do politicians really feel about some of the most popular SNL impressions?
- Photo: NBC
Many consider Dana Carvey's impression of President George H.W. Bush one of the best in SNL history. Carvey popularized lines like "Not gonna do it" and "Wouldn't be prudent" in his impression of the president, which portrayed Bush as a boring, slightly goofy guy.
James Andrew Miller, co-author of Live From New York: The Complete, Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live, says Bush "was a fan of" the impression. He liked it so much that Bush and Carvey appeared together several times. Miller said, “Bush would laugh at it, so I don’t think that was mean in any way."
In 2013, Miley Cyrus portrayed Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann in a sketch skewering the GOP for shutting down the government with a parody song titled, "We Did Stop (the Government)." Bachman's reaction: "I've never done twerking in my life, and I don't intend to take it up."
The congresswoman went on to say, "I have a good sense of humor and I never take it personally. I've probably been lampooned six or seven times on Saturday Night Live and that's all done in good fun."
During his eight years as president, Bill Clinton watched Phil Hartman and Darrell Hammond play him on SNL. Even in the midst of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, when Hammond played a lecherous version of the president, Clinton apparently remained unfazed.
Clinton's advisor Paul Begala recalled, “He had the thickest skin of anybody I ever knew. We loved it; he loved it. I don’t remember any talk at all about pushing back on it.”
During the 2016 presidential election, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders battled Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. From the instant Sanders appeared on the campaign trail, people noticed a similarity to comedian Larry David. In October 2015, David appeared on SNL as Bernie Sanders, and the impression was so perfect that Sanders wondered if he could pull off a swap during a rally.
Sanders joked, “I think we’ll use Larry at our next rally. He does [me] better than I do."