Anthony Massa, The Miami Student

If you didn’t already know, in less than two weeks we will have a new president. And in less than two weeks, regardless of the results, the American people will have elected the most unpopular candidate for president since opinion polling began. Given that kind of outcome, it is easy to understand why so many people are dreading the entire election process.

Especially as the nearly two-year long election has entered its final weeks, the comments have gotten nastier, the revelations dirtier and the average American more sick of politics than ever before. Both Politico and USA Today have called the second presidential debate the “nastiest debate of all time,” as the candidates fought not over policy issues, but instead over claims of sexual assault, threats of imprisonment and private email servers.

So where is the light at the end of the tunnel? It’s hard to say, but while the candidates are playing deep in the mud, there are many different people working to bring a smile to the faces of Americans who feel drained by the 2016 election cycle.

After long weeks of bitter back and forth and negative headlines for both of the candidates, and after the past four weeks of debates, NBC’s Saturday Night Live never ceases to bring laughter to its audience while poking fun at the candidates.

Famous for its spot-on portrayals of George W. Bush in the 2000s as well as Sarah Palin in 2008, SNL has come with full force onto the 2016 scene, recruiting cast member Kate McKinnon to portray Hillary Clinton and move star Alec Baldwin to play Trump.

Since the season premiere on Oct. 1, each episode has opened with a parody of that week’s debate. The sketches have garnered the most attention for the show since the fall of 2008, when the show spiked in popularity as a result of Tina Fey’s portrayal of Sarah Palin. Ratings for Oct. 22’s episode featuring Tom Hanks were the best for the show in years.

Yet SNL is not the only entity bringing laughter to a contentious election. Traditional late night talk shows have had a field day in the past two months, offering monologues that have torn into both of the candidates’ vulnerabilities. “The Tonight Show”’s Jimmy Fallon invited both candidates to his show in September, messing up Trump’s hair in one episode and putting on a surgical mask for Hillary Clinton not long after her recovery from pneumonia in the other.

CBS’s “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” has also had its own fun with the campaign, especially after the second presidential debate when Colbert filmed a special episode to recap the debate and write a song about Ken Bone, the undecided voter who became an internet sensation as a result of the second debate. Newer programs such as TBS’s “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” have become famous for their on-the-ground interviews with voters in which they ask questions about the election in an attempt to expose voter ignorance.

YouTubers of all kinds have also found their own creative way to mock the campaign with hilarious videos, ranging from bad debate lip readings to songified debates, to the hilarious video that emerged after the second presidential debate portraying Trump and Clinton singing “(I Had) the Time of My Life,” as well as “Baby, Its Cold Outside.”

After an election that has drained the American public like no other in recent history, the comic relief provided by television and YouTube has been more needed than ever before. In the final days of the election, the candidates are not the ones many Americans are tuning into, rather it’s the comedians that portray them on Saturday nights.

Is this a problem? Maybe, but in an election like this one, it is more than excusable. After all, Alec Baldwin, Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert are all far more popular than either candidate running for president. When the dust clears and the mess of the election is over, many Americans will look back on these comedians and others as the ones that got us through it, and the ones who will get us through the next four years.

massaam2@miamioh.edu

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