SNL, now in its 42nd season, has frequently shaped how voters see their presidential candidates. In 2000, the show turned Al Gore’s focus-grouped phrases into punch lines; in 2008, some voters were left thinking that Sarah Palin, not Tina Fey, said “I can see Russia from my house.”
But this year may be different, and not just because of the well-documented entertainment value of Trump. The season opens at a time when the comedy world is engulfed in an angry debate about how to make fun of Trump — and whether some practitioners have given him a pass on his more objectionable stances. For some, Donald Trump isn’t funny anymore. And that has prompted some writers, actors and producers behind SNL to ask this question: What if he wins? And will anyone blame them if he does?