ABSTRACT

This article explores the political humor behind Saturday Night Live’s presidential impressions and how the stakes of such humor are higher when the candidate is a woman. Drawing on theories of comic incongruity, I argue that SNL’s American presidents have “incongruent bodies”; that is, they challenge long-held assumptions about how power and leadership are to be visualized and embodied but ultimately maintain the patriarchal status quo. In the case of former candidate Hillary Clinton, however, what makes her incongruent with the role of the presidency is the simple fact of her being a woman. I argue that SNL’s Hillary Clinton characters, played by Amy Poehler and Kate McKinnon, foreground the basic contradiction of the woman candidate, offering an embodied critique on the gendering of power and leadership in America.

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