In a “Saturday Night Live” season where Alec Baldwin transformed into Donald Trump, Jimmy Fallon lampooned Jared Kushner, and Kate McKinnon played… well, there’s very few of Trump’s White House cohorts she hasn’t impersonated, it’s Melissa McCarthy’s savage take on Sean Spicer that may have stolen the show.
The actress returns to Studio 8H this weekend to play both host and her beloved “Spicy” on the NBC variety series. Saturday’s episode should grab attention as well as big ratings for “SNL” and that’s because while Baldwin and McKinnon have defined this season, McCarthy’s Spicer is its most unexpected star.
“It’s been a true blessing for SNL when Alec stepped up to the plate, hitting all his home runs as Trump. But Melissa’s impersonation of Spicer has to be the most delicious surprise of this season,” James Andrew Miller, author of “Live From New York: The Complete, Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live,” told CNN.
McCarthy came on as both a figurative and literal comedic hurricane in February when she first introduced her gum-chewing, Super Soaker wielding, run-you-down-with-a-lectern White House Press Secretary.
Not only did no one see her impression as Spicer coming, but much like Baldwin and Trump, McCarthy has been incredibly successful at using satire to affect reality.
“With one performance, Sean Spicer no longer controls how people perceive him,” wrote Vulture’s Jesse David Fox in February. “The impersonation will likely supersede the real person, like Dana Carvey’s George H.W. Bush or Chevy Chase’s deeply inaccurate yet effective Gerald Ford. Every time Spicer flubs a word or shouts at the press, people will smile in acknowledgment of the impression. Melissa McCarthy owns him in a way that only the best impressions can.”
And despite Spicer finding himself amused by the “funny,” if not over the top impersonation, the depiction was reportedly so damaging that it upset Spicer’s boss.
Politico reported in February that McCarthy’s spoof rattled the White House, with sources saying that Trump found it problematic that Spicer was being mocked by a woman.
Now, McCarthy returns to her “SNL” lectern at a time when Spicer appears to be at a low point in his short press secretary tenure.
Spicer was reportedly “benched” during a crucial week for the White House in the wake of Trump’s shocking firing of FBI chief James Comey. This has led to reports that Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders could be replacing him.
For Spicer, it also doesn’t help that stories had him and his staff cloaked in darkness behind a hedge on the White House lawn the night Comey was fired.
Juicy tidbits like these give fodder to “SNL” writers while building excitement around the show.
“SNL” and McCarthy have also been doing their part in building buzz for Saturday night’s broadcast all week.
This includes promos that features the actress transforming herself into Spicer to the tune of “I Feel Pretty” from “West Side Story.” McCarthy was seen on Friday hitting streets of New York right outside the CNN offices in what appears to be a taping for Saturday’s episode.
Now, all that is left is to see just how spicy McCarthy gets on Saturday night.
“If McCarthy goes full Spicer tomorrow night, we’ll get further insight into whether the president thinks it’s a positive for his spokesperson to be such a big blip on the cultural radar, or whether he’s had enough of his chief spokesperson being portrayed like this,” Miller said. “After all, the president has been known to watch television — and sometimes have strong reactions.”