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Melissa McCarthy’s Sean Spicer scoots through Manhattan, teasing a much-hyped SNL return

McCarthy’s upcoming hosting gig may be the most-hyped episode of a monumental season.

Aja Romano writes about pop culture, media, and ethics. Before joining Vox in 2016, they were a staff reporter at the Daily Dot. A 2019 fellow of the National Critics Institute, they’re considered an authority on fandom, the internet, and the culture wars.

Social media was abuzz Friday morning celebrating the sight of Melissa McCarthy, dressed as Sean Spicer, riding around Midtown Manhattan on a Segway disguised as a White House press room podium, apparently in preparation for her return to Saturday Night Live as this weekend’s host.

New Yorkers rushed to Twitter to commemorate the moment McCarthy was spotted outside of the Manhattan CNN building on 58th Street, churning out tweets, selfies, and video of the event.

As evidenced by the public reaction, McCarthy’s return is already one of the more hyped SNL episodes in recent memory — and that’s saying a lot, given the show’s increased media dominance as it continues to satirize President Donald Trump and his administration.

The timing of McCarthy’s hosting gig couldn’t be better — and SNL knows it

McCarthy’s reappearance as Spicer couldn’t be better timed, coinciding with the beleaguered press secretary’s recent reported attempt to hide in the bushes from journalists pelting him with questions about Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey. Internet gawkers have already had a field day with this bit of surreal comedy, and it’s clear SNL intends to have more.

But it’s also clear that SNL intends to keep riding the wave of publicity generated by McCarthy’s first pitch-perfect appearance as Spicer. (McCarthy has since returned to do the impression twice more.) On Wednesday, the show released a teaser trailer for McCarthy’s appearance as host that foregrounded her transformation into Spicer with a rendition of “I Feel Pretty.”

If all of this hype seems somewhat over-the-top for an otherwise regular episode of SNL, that’s because it is. But it’s also an indication of how prominent the show has become in the public eye, with some viewing it as a form of comedic protest against a deeply unpopular president. The show’s choice to have McCarthy play Spicer in drag reportedly infuriated President Trump, and given what a politically charged week it’s been for the Trump administration, some viewers seem to viewing McCarthy as a general leading an “army of comedy.”

Meanwhile, SNL’s other guests may prove to be equally worth showing up for; the night’s musical guest, HAIM, just dropped a fantastic new video and single ahead of their upcoming summer album.

In fact, given the arguably diminishing returns of McCarthy’s second and third appearances as Spicer, HAIM could end up being the best part of the episode, despite the weeklong political chaos leading into this episode of SNL. Regardless, though, with all that pressure to deliver, SNL will probably serve up a memorable night of television even if the jokes don’t all land.

And even if McCarthy bombs, she’ll have had, at the very least, what seems to be most of Manhattan rooting for her.

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