In the face of the impending Trump administration, a range of artists — from the cast of Hamilton to Meryl Streep — have talked publicly about speaking truth to power. Meanwhile, a host of artists and writers are protesting the inauguration in events and boycotts this week. Recognizing the platform their celebrity affords them, creators and entertainers of all stripes are figuring out how they’re going to continue to voice dissent in the years ahead.
So of course, Saturday Night Live poked a little fun at everyone’s seemingly newfound First Amendment seriousness.
In one of the show’s first sketches of 2017, Cecily Strong plays a reporter working for Fandango All Access, and asks a movie director (Kyle Mooney) about his work. “In this political climate, artists have a responsibility to make good work, no matter the cost,” he replies seriously.
Then Strong introduces two actors from the director’s latest project (played by Beck Bennett and guest host Felicity Jones), who are there to promote the trio’s new movie: Hot Robot 3: Journey to Boob Mountain.
Jones’s character plays the titular Hot Robot, a curvy android who, she says, is a timely character for today: “Hot Robot is an immigrant, and also Hot Robot is a robot.” Bennett’s character plays Danny “Skidmark” Burke, who’s been in hot pursuit (and we do mean hot) of Hot Robot since the first installment.
Bennett explains that his character visits a robot factory in one scene to get “all of the Hot Robots to harness their boob energy.” Mooney muses, “Obviously there’s a lot of anger about the election in that choice, but also a lot of hope? If we could all harness our boob energy, who knows what we could accomplish?”
“Yes, now more than ever, artists must speak truth to power,” Jones pipes up. “I mean, that’s what the whole horny grandma scene is about!”
The sketch is all in good fun — the rest of the episode was deeply critical of Trump, from Alec Baldwin’s cold open to a stream of biting critiques in “Weekend Update.” But there’s some veiled advice to artists and entertainers in the years ahead: Not every project or press junket has to be an occasion for political commentary.
Sometimes you’re a radical truth speaker. And sometimes you’re Hot Robot.