Brow Beat

Cecily Strong’s Performance in Saturday Night Live’s Voter Fraud Cold Open Was Historically Inevitable

Cecily Strong, dressed as Melissa Carone, holding a martini, in a still from SNL.
Willed into being. NBC

The debate over whether or not human beings have free will has been raging ever since Adam and Eve got hungry for apples, but this week brought with it some important new evidence in favor of cold, hard determinism. On Wednesday, the House Oversight Committee of the Michigan House of Representatives held a catastrophic hearing to showcase the Trump campaign’s lies about election fraud. The event was so detached from reality that Rudy Giuliani was not the most embarrassing thing about it, despite the fact that he audibly farted mid-presentation. The breakout star of the hearing was Melissa Carone, a contract IT worker whose combination of incoherence and flamboyant hostility made for terrible democracy but terrific television. As Lili Loofbourow warned on Thursday, Carone provided Americans yet another opportunity to demonstrate that we’d learned a lesson from four years of Donald Trump about the limits of satire and the danger of elevating cranks to the national stage. Unfortunately, Carone’s appearance set powerful and inexorable historical forces into motion, mostly on Twitter. First, Huffington Post reporter Ryan J. Reilly made the inevitable observation that Carone resembled a Saturday Night Live character:

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Once Reilly had tweeted, Media Matters editor-at-large Parker Molloy had no choice but to demonstrate that Carone didn’t resemble just any old Saturday Night Live character, but Cecily Strong’s Weekend Update character “The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party.”

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At that point, trying to stop Saturday Night Live from putting Cecily Strong in the cold open as the role of Carone was as futile and absurd as commanding the moon or the tides. Watch that water roll in:

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It is always a delight to watch Cecily Strong play someone aggressively unpleasant, even when it’s bad for America. On the other hand, the way this Saturday Night Live sketch became a historical inevitability in a matter of days was yet another reminder that we’re nothing but puppets dancing on History’s strings, frog legs twitching when the current hits, pulled helplessly through time by forces we can neither name nor understand, and haven’t we already been through enough this year? Pete Davidson yelling “I’M CURIOUS ABOUT FOSSILS!” was great, though.

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