Hillary Clinton unleashed a pretty accurate impression of Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump during a Saturday Night Live skit designed to help her show she's not as stiff or as tough to like as some voters say.
In it, Clinton plays a salt-of-the-earth bartender named "Val," and SNL's Kate McKinnon plays a campaign-weary Clinton.
"Oh Val, I'm just so darn bummed," McKinnon says to Clinton. "All anybody wants to talk about is Donald Trump."
"Donald Trump?" Clinton-as-bartender asks, preparing to slip into a Trump impression. "Isn't he the one that's like, 'Uh, you're all losers.'"
McKinnon plays such a maniacal version of Clinton that it's hard not to see the real-life Clinton as relaxed and easygoing by comparison. McKinnon says she doesn't want Trump to lose in the primaries because she wants to be the one who takes him out. And, she says, she wants to "mount his hair in the Oval Office."
Meanwhile, the real-life Clinton tries to buck up McKinnon's character by telling her she didn't take too long to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline or favor same-sex marriage — that it's more important to get to the right place than to get there first.
Clinton's appearance, which wraps up with the two women singing a few bars of "Lean on Me," could help her shake the nagging narrative that she's mechanical and humorless. While the skit runs just six minutes, SNL's caricatures have helped shape the way Americans think about politicians for four decades.
In 2008, many voters mistakenly thought that vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin listed the ability to see Russia from Alaska as her primary foreign policy credential. But it was Tina Fey, playing Palin on SNL, who said, "I can see Russia from my house."
Palin had actually said you can see Russia from Alaskan land, which has the benefit of being true. But the Fey impression stuck.
The show has been in Clinton's corner for many years — some credited Amy Poehler's impression of Clinton with helping resurrect her campaign in 2008 — and this weekend's episode showed that's not going to change anytime soon. The approach has shifted, though. Rather than the Poehler version, which presented Clinton as likable for her intelligence and wit, the McKinnon version, which was first rolled out in March, is such a parody of Clinton's worst features that the real-life Clinton seems pretty normal by contrast. That implies that SNL thinks making Clinton more personable is a tougher trick than it was eight years ago — and one that requires taking on Clinton's less likable features more directly.