Saturday Night Live is having one of its best seasons in more than two decades. A lot of that is thanks to the recent SNL trend of having established Hollywood stars impersonate key political figures in the Trump camp.
An article in the Hollywood Reporter quotes SNL insiders about the behind-the-scenes action that has made this year such a success. One of most interesting stories is about how Melissa McCarthy became Sean Spicer.
When Spicer’s crazy antics brought him notoriety, SNL knew it needed someone to play him. Show producer Erik Kenward said: “I wish [Chris] Farley was around to play Spicer. And in a lot of ways, Melissa [McCarthy] is the closest thing just in terms of sheer power and comedy physicality that we have to Chris Farley.”
SNL creator Lorne Michaels agreed with the casting of McCarthy, and he said, “Absolutely. Let’s make it happen.” In 2015, McCarthy paid homage to Farley by playing Matt Foley, motivational speaker, which proved she could fit the role of an unhinged Spicer.
McCarthy was initially hesitant, saying, “Oh, God, that is juicy, but I don’t understand how we’re going to physically make it work.” However, being one of the greatest living physical comedians, armed with funny props, chewing gum, and a motorized podium, she helped create an iconic impersonation of Spicer.
SNL was nervous to have McCarthy back the next week, but after Ivanka Trump’s clothing line was dropped by Nordstrom, SNL knew there was a fresh take. It was even McCarthy’s idea to hike up her leg to show off the high-heel Ivanka shoe. As she recalls, “Well, once I heard ‘motorized podium’ and ‘jewelry,’ I said, ‘Can he also be wearing a shoe?'”
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