SNL’s Britney Spears Digs Into Ted Cruz & Gina Carano Controversies

Saturday Night Live opened with a bang this week, with shots fired at a variety of targets that were prominently featured in the news over the past week. Chief among these were the Free Britney movement, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and The Mandalorian actress Gina Carano.

Topical humor is part and parcel of Saturday Night Live. For nearly five decades, the variety show has been a mainstay of NBC’s broadcast line-up and satirical sketches like SNL‘s Super Bowl commercials spoof have made the news as often as they’ve made fun of it. A number of films (such as Wayne’s World and A Night at the Roxbury) have been based on Saturday Night Live‘s recurring characters and many of its cast members have gone on to become big movie stars on their own.

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The centerpiece of SNL‘s cold open this week was a talk show hosted by Britney Spears, called Oops, You Did It Again. Britney (played by Chloe Fineman) claimed to have created the show to offer a platform to people who needed a forum to apologize for their misdeeds, having received so many apologies herself in the wake of the Framing Britney documentary. This led to a series of increasingly confrontational interviews, as Britney blasted her guests for their bad behavior when their apologies proved less than sincere. The sketch also got in a shot at Britney Spears’ ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake, with a note the show was sponsored by The Notes App, which Timberlake apparently used to deliver his apology for how badly he’d treated her. The sketch can be viewed in full below.

Britney’s first guest was Texas Senator Ted Cruz (Aidy Bryant), who drew outrage this week after abandoning his constituents to jet to Cancun, Mexico in the middle of power being out for days for tens of millions of Texans after the worst winter storm to hit the state in decades. To make matters worse, Cruz was later discovered to have left his dog at home alone in a freezing house and tried to pin the blame for the trip on his young daughters. Bryant’s Cruz worked to make this even more outrageous, noting with a perfect imitation of Cruz’s dismissive chuckle that she was “in a little bit of hot water, which I’m told is a thing that no one in Texas has.” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (played by Pete Davidson), underwent a similar grilling over a recent scandal where the state intentionally misreported the deaths of COVID-19 patients in New York nursing homes in order to keep the pandemic numbers down. Davison’s Cuomo was quick to fight any suggestion that what he did was as bad as the cowardly Cruz and that they had a lot in common. “I am a man. You are a clown,” he noted, before threatening to send Cruz to “a clown hospital” and not count his body.

The skit ended with Cecily Strong playing a combative Gina Carano, who refused to apologize for the offensive social media comments that finally saw Carano fired from The Mandalorian after multiple incidents. “I’ve done nothing wrong. No one can even explain what I did wrong. Explain it,” Strong’s Carano challenged. When Fineman’s Spears quietly replied that it was because she’d said that conservatives in America were treated just like Jews in Nazi Germany, Strong’s Carano sarcastically replied. “Okay, congrats. You explained it.”

In the face of such outrageous behavior, it’s increasingly difficult for satirists to keep up. All comedy is built on exaggeration and there is a point at which it becomes impossible to exaggerate just how callous some people can be. Thankfully, Saturday Night Live continues to manage this task more often than not and deliver some much-needed laughter in the process.

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