The big political news out of this week's Saturday Night Live was supposed to be the fact that Donald Trump hosted the program.
But Trump proved a boring emcee who wasn't really willing to poke fun at himself — his main skit imagined a world in which he had made America too great, and even then, he still felt the need to monologue about how the reality of a Trump presidency would be yet greater than that. It was an object example of how, when you aren't confident enough to be in on the joke, you become the joke.
The show, however, was still a joy for the politically obsessed: Larry David reprised his role as Bernie Sanders, and his Sanders impression has gotten even better:
David's initial cut on Sanders nailed the Vermonter's cranky, blunt persona. But this time, David inhabits Sanders' physical presence more fully: the forward lean, the slightly downward gaze, the impatient scowl as he waits for the question.
"Are you ready for some questions?" Asks SNL's version of Rachel Maddow.
"I've got a question for you," David replies. "What the hell is this tonight? Why are we even doing this?"
Sanders sits through interviews with the air of a man who is antsy to get back to more important work, which is part of his charm — he's the sort of politician who seems to like passing laws more than he likes being on TV. He treats the glamour of politics, such as it is, like an annoying distraction from the real work of policy — which makes him something of an antidote to the waves of politicians who seems more interested in being on TV than doing their job. And David's figured out both how core that impatience is to Sanders' appeal, and the subtle physical tics through which Sanders conveys it to his supporters.
For comparison's sake, here's my interview with the real Bernie Sanders: