With “Come Back, Barack”, SNL Sings What We’re All Thinking After 10 Months of Trump
On last night’s Saturday Night Live, Chance the Rapper joined with Kenan Thompson and Chris Redd to woo Barack Obama back into the White House. Their pitch-perfect parody of ’90s R&B ballads, “Come Back, Barack,” paints a way-too-real picture of our Trump-induced despair.
“We didn’t know just what we had,” they sing. “Now things are looking bad / Like, really bad / Like, World War bad / Like, nuclear bad.” Other lyrics include:
“I’m in heeeelllll / dreaming about you and Michelle”
“Every night, I turn the TV on and cry-y-y / I say, ‘Why?’ / I feel like we’re all gonna dieeee.”
“Maybe Michelle could run? / No, let’s not put Michelle through that. / But if she wanted to … ”
Now, just to hop on ahead of the comments, obviously Obama wasn’t a perfect president. He murdered civilians with drone warfare, wielded the Espionage Act to prosecute whistleblowers, and helped create the vicious deportation machine that Trump is now wielding against our families, neighbors, and children with cerebral palsy. His legacy, like that of anyone who takes the helm of an aggressive and self-serving world power, is not saintly.
However, the exhaustion of living under Trump’s onslaught on the welfare state, international treaties, anti-corruption law, and basic human decency is real. You long for the days when you could protest against the government and not have the president call for you to be beaten by a mob. You still remember what it was like to be governed by a man who understood the Constitution he was tasked with enforcing. You miss having a president who wasn’t blatantly using his office for personal profit, firing off racist tweets about American citizens, and having his Press Secretary call the dozens of women he allegedly assaulted liars.
That’s why this skit hits that perfect sweet spot of laugh-so-we-don’t-cry. It’s both a great parody of R&B music videos and a too-honest snapshot of the American psyche right now.
“Why would you leave us?” Kenan Thompson asks. “Oh, ’cause you had to? Because of the Constitution? … But you can come back, right? … Oh, you can’t? Because that would undermine the very institutions that we’re barely holding onto as it is? I see. I guess we’re stuck with this dude for a while, then.”
Ugh. Yeah, it looks we are.
(Via The Hollywood Reporter; image via YouTube thumbnail)
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