The candidate cameo on Saturday Night Live has become increasingly common, especially as SNL works to create timely sketches that will generate anticipation among viewers who might be more likely to watch the show live and among pundits who are more likely to replay the cameo, thereby drawing further attention to it. Most cameos end up being relatively friendly to the guest candidate (with the significant exception of Sarah Palin’s appearance during the 2008 election), and Senator Bernie Sanders’ appearance is no exception. In his sketch, he plays the crew member of a sinking ship railing against various sorts of inequality. The sketch allows Sanders to perform alongside of Larry David, who has been impersonating him on the show, and to play off his campaign persona in a comedic way. But I was also taken by another SNL sketch, “Bern your Enthusiasm,” in which David riffs off of his comic persona from his long-running HBO show.
The sketch parodies Curb’s obsession with manners–and Larry David’s habit of violating social norms–to mock some of the conventions of campaign narratives in a clever and fun way, especially for fans of the original show.