Sean Spicer had a decidedly mixed reaction to Melissa McCarthy’s brash (and strikingly accurate) SNL impersonation, telling Extra’s A.J. Calloway at Sunday’s Super Bowl that while he thought she was “funny,” the comic actress could stand to “dial back” her exaggerated portrayal.
Of course, by the time Spicer weighed in, McCarthy’s performance had already gone viral and elicited a very positive response. David Itzkoff wrote for the New York Times that she “stole the show,” Elahe Izadi argued that she “absolutely crushed it” for the Washington Post, and the Twitterverse lit up with high praise.
Best SNL sketch in years. Melissa McCarthy is a modern day Jackie Gleason.https://t.co/nCt65PdpFE— Seth MacFarlane (@SethMacFarlane) February 5, 2017
But really, Melissa McCarthy was so spot-on with the Sean Spicer imitation. This White House really is a disaster.— deray mckesson (@deray) February 6, 2017
Melissa McCarthy has a 108 MPH comedy fastball.— Seth Meyers (@sethmeyers) February 5, 2017
Melissa McCarthy's Spicer was great precisely because she didn't go "funny"; she dug in, deadly serious, without comment or camp.— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) February 5, 2017
McCarthy’s performance primarily mocked Spicer’s aggro channeling of the Trump administration’s unending insecurities, closely mirroring that now-infamous press conference that mixed aimless griping with erroneous crowd-size measuring. As McCarthy’s SNL caricature of Spicer described Trump’s Supreme Court nomination announcement: “When [Trump] entered the room, the crowd greeted him with a standing ovation, which lasted a full 15 minutes. And you check the tape on that—everyone was smiling, everyone was happy!” So while Spicer may be right about the exaggeration, it’s hard to deny that McCarthy perfectly captured his hapless, screamy essence.
Since Alec Baldwin debuted his rather unflattering Trump impression, we’ve endured the perverse, periodic ritual of waking up on Sunday mornings and being greeted by the commander in chief’s online attacks on a popular comedy program. In recent weeks, President Trump has abstained from complaining about SNL on Twitter, but Spicer, good soldier that he is, assumed the responsibility of SNL critic on Sunday—and in doing so, he all but validated McCarthy’s intuitive take on him as a whiny Trump lapdog.
“Alec has gone from funny to mean, and that’s unfortunate,” Spicer lamented to Extra. “SNL used to be really funny. There’s a streak of meanness now that they’ve crossed over to mean.” Yikes. Before long, he’ll be demanding an apology and refusing to accept one in the same breath.