Laughing Matters — Goober the Clown

Sometimes comedy illuminates hard truths with a pointed urgency that other means can’t quite achieve. Sometimes comedy is just funny. This series of posts is mostly about the former instances, but the latter is valuable, too.

With nearly fifty seasons of Saturday Night Live, it’s arguably the height of folly to try and name the best bits in the program’s history without a whole lot of concentrated research. I have made no such effort at retrospectively examining the tower of episodes, but I’m still prepared to argue that one of the true comedic pinnacles arrived just over a year ago when Cecily Strong slipped onto the Weekend Update set to deliver a desk piece as Goober the Clown. Responding to the nefarious efforts afoot by disingenuous judicial leaders and opportunistic legislative hooligans to strip away fundamental reproductive rights from women in the U.S. Exploiting the audience’s developed knowledge of the contrivance of guest commentators as a colorful vessel for occasionally pointed commentary as well as the broader social cowardice in openly acknowledging the value of a medical procedure that had long been Constitutionally protected and relatively commonplace, Strong discusses her own experience with abortion in a way that’s frank, angry, and laced with meta-commentary. It’s ingeniously conceived, fiercely written, and beautifully performed. Saturday Night Live is a comfortable entertainment institution. If more of it were like this, Saturday Night Live would be vital.

Previous entries in this series can be found by clicking on the “Laughing Matters” tag.

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