Top 10 SNL Political Parodies



Top 10 SNL Political Parodies

Written by George Pacheco

Think politics are boring? Then let us change your mind. Welcome to, and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 SNL Political Parodies.

For this list, we'll be looking the funniest and most well known parodies of political figures performed on “Saturday Night Live.”

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Think politics are boring? Then let us change your mind. Welcome to, and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 SNL Political Parodies.

For this list, we'll be looking the funniest and most well known parodies of political figures performed on “Saturday Night Live.”

#10: Darrell Hammond as Dick Cheney

Darrell Hammond is a master of impressions, and has successfully tried his luck impersonating a number of political figures during his tenure at “SNL.” However, it's Hammond's take on former Vice President Dick Cheney that stands alongside his Bill Clinton as one of the comedian's most well known parodies. Hammond hams it up and does his best to play with Cheney's public persona as the evil puppet mastermind behind the George W. Bush administration, while getting a lot of laughs in the process. That sneaky snarl, those side-eye glances, it's all part of Hammond's hilarious take on a polarizing man.

#9: Norm Macdonald as Bob Dole

Norm Macdonald is a comedian's comedian; a man who has earned both respect from his peers and laughs from the audience. “SNL” fans were certainly laughing back when Macdonald was playing former presidential candidate and Senator Bob Dole on the show. Norm made it a point to emphasize Dole's habit of referring to himself in the third person, while also capturing Dole's pencil-holding, deadpan delivery. Macdonald was surly and grumpy, yet remarkably charismatic in his performance as Dole, and it's something we're still laughing about today.

#8: Jay Pharoah as Barack Obama

It was Fred Armisen who first took aim at Barack Obama with his unique and slightly strange impression, but that performance was certainly improved upon once Jay Pharoah took over the role. Pharoah easily ticks all of the boxes when it comes to capturing Obama's well-known cadence, phrasing and manner of speech, while at the same time capturing that certain level of political swagger the former president has. Jay Pharoah is a skilled comedian and impressionist, but this might be some of his best work.

#7: Dana Carvey as George H. W. Bush

It seems as if “SNL” icon Dana Carvey can impersonate just about anyone, but it was the world of politics that gave us some of the cast member's most memorable bits. Many Carvey fans might point to his loony impression of one time presidential candidate Ross Perot as their favorite, but we're going with his classic take on George H. W. Bush. Carvey had a lot of material to work with during the Bush presidency, but it's the comedian's uncanny ability to mimic the former president's voice and mannerisms, especially during monologues and debates that are probably best remembered.

#6: Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer

The next parody on our list is an early 21st century example of this sketch show’s political humor, but that doesn't make it any less funny. Melissa McCarthy surprised everyone in 2017 when she appeared on "Saturday Night Live" to impersonate former White House press secretary Sean Spicer. The comedienne's natural affinity for physical comedy and mimicry brought the house down, and it wasn't long before McCarthy was making regular appearances as Spicer. Her impression was loud, colorful, and boisterous… and we loved every minute of it!

#5: Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump

We return to new millennium “SNL” territory with yet another guest star who, as of late, has become a sort of de-facto cast member. Alec Baldwin earned rave reviews and laughs when he parodied The Donald on the campaign trail, so it made sense that the award-winning actor would return to the role once Trump took office. Baldwin nails a funny and exaggerated take on many of Trump's well known personal quirks and mannerisms, and never shies away from tackling the more controversial topics that were at the center of news outlets during the president's campaign.

#4: Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton

If Baldwin's Trump was good, then Kate McKinnon's parody of Hillary Clinton was even better. McKinnon's place as one of “SNL’”s funniest faces was already secure before she took on this role, but if anything, Kate's impression of Hillary has made her even more popular. Maybe it's McKinnon's ability to tap into Clinton's awkward public persona, or perhaps it was the laughs she got portraying how badly Hillary wanted to win the election. Or, maybe it was that somber cold opening in the wake of a Trump victory, where, in character, McKinnon sang a stirring rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah." Honestly, it was all of that and more: this was a brilliant performance.

#3: Phil Hartman as Bill Clinton

Hillary's other half is up next on our list, this time portrayed by the much-missed Phil Hartman. The “SNL” legend had already impressed with his smart and satirical take on former President Reagan, yet even that performance was eclipsed by his dead-on impression of William Jefferson Clinton. Hartman wasn't one-note in his work, and did his best to capture everything about Clinton: his affable charisma, his Arkansas accent, his taste for fast food, his relationship with Hillary, and his role as Commander in Chief. Above all else, though, it was just funny: a perfect impression from one of “SNL’”s greatest talents.

#2: Will Ferrell as George W. Bush

Two Bushes in one list? It's more likely than you think, especially when it's legendary comedian Will Ferrell working his magic on screen. This time, it's the younger Bush, George W., which receives some good-natured parody when Will takes aim at the former president's goofy public persona. Ferrell takes good care in mimicking Dubya's perceived..."difficulties" with grammar, while also nailing Bush's accent, squint, and memorable laugh. There's also hindsight: knowing that Ferrell had to impersonate the president in a post-911 world makes the performance all the more impressive, poignant, and important.

Before we name our top pick, here are some spot-on honorable mentions!

Dan Aykroyd as Jimmy Carter

Larry David as Bernie Sanders

Jon Lovitz as Michael Dukakis

#1: Tina Fey as Sarah Palin

It's one of the most beloved and most well-known political parodies in “SNL” history: the time Tina Fey took a shot at vice presidential hopeful Sarah Palin. Fey won a Primetime Emmy award in 2009 for her portrayal of the former Alaskan governor; a nuanced performance that both skewered Palin's political prowess, or lack thereof, and lightheartedly poked fun at her beauty queen appearance, accent, and use of colloquialisms. It was a smash hit, and Fey would return to the role a number of times for “SNL,” securing the character as a high point in the show's long history of political comedy.