Friday, May 1, 2015
Cecily Strong Speaks Truth Through Jokes at White House Correspondents' Dinner
By Lila Ench
The White House Correspondents’ Dinner on April 26 was shaken up by Saturday Night Live’s take on the news, delivered by Cecily Strong. Many of her jokes had the audience laughing hysterically or sneering hysterically.
“Since I’m only a comedian,” she said to the roomful of Washington elected officials and political journalists, “I’m not going to try and tell you politicians how to do politics or whatever. That’s not my job. That would be like you guys telling me what to do with my body. I mean, can you even imagine?”
She spoke the truth in a way that was light-hearted so even the darkest words could get a laugh.
Cecily Strong is a cast member of Saturday Night Live, who joined as a feature player in 2012. She does a range of impressions, from Colombian-American actress Sofia Vergara to Canadian-American singer Alanis Morrissette. She has also been featured on the comedy program’s Weekend Update, which is probably why she was asked to the host the correspondents’ dinner at the Washington Hilton.
Weekend Update is a satirical segment where two correspondents discuss the news. This type of program is what is necessary for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, where there needs to be jokes but also moments of genuine critique of President Obama and those who work for him.
Cecily Strong did an incredible job and her jokes hit hard, especially in a time where they need to be heard. Just hours away, Baltimore was experiencing protests due to the death of Freddie Gray, whose spine was nearly severed when he was taken into custody by city police.
“Let’s give it up for the Secret Service,” she said in a commentary on a seemingly national culture of police conduct in targeting African-Americans. “I don’t want to be too hard on those guys, because they’re the only law enforcement agency in the country that will get in trouble if a black man gets shot.”
These comments may be small but they make people think. That is the point of satirical comedy shows, and Cecily did a great job at expressing that. It’s why people watch Saturday Night Live, because they can handle the heavy topics but also allow people to laugh through it.
Cecily Strong is doing a great job not only for Saturday Night Live but for women in general. She is strong, funny, and powerful. There is hope that her presence will open a door for other women who want to speak about hard-hitting topics.
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