Rob Schneider said during a recent interview (via Mediaite) that “Saturday Night Live” was killed for good when Kate McKinnon sang Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” as Hillary Clinton during the cold open of the show’s first episode back after the 2016 presidential election. McKinnon parodied Clinton throughout the 2016 election cycle, but the show took a somber and serious approach to Clinton’s loss against Donald Trump by starting the post-election episode with McKinnon’s Hillary performing “Hallelujah” at a piano.
“I hate to crap on my old show,” Schneider said. “I literally prayed, ‘Please have a joke at the end. Don’t do this. Please don’t go down there.’ And there was no joke at the end, and I went, ‘It’s over. It’s over. It’s not going to come back.’”
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Schneider also criticized “Saturday Night Live” and other late-night talk series for “indoctrinating” viewers, adding, “You can take the comedic indoctrination process happening with each of the late-night hosts, and you could exchange them with each other. That’s how you know it’s not interesting anymore.”
McKinnon, who has won two Emmys for supporting actress in a comedy series thanks to her work on “SNL” and is in the running for a third this year, spoke to Esquire magazine earlier this year about the “Hallelujah” cover. The comedian called the track “the most beautiful song ever written, one of my top three songs of all time my whole life.” McKinnon said that performing the Leonard Cohen song as Hillary Clinton gave her new perspective on the songwriter’s lyrics.
“I’d always understood ‘Hallelujah’ in the context of a romantic relationship, as had most of us,” McKinnon said. “And then this verse — in this moment when it was so emotional for everyone in the country, when no matter what side you were on, it was a moment of surprise and high-octane emotion –I suddenly understood it in a new light. It’s about love, and how love is a slog but it’s worth it. I suddenly understood it as, like, the love of this idea that is America. That all people are created equal, and that’s the most beautiful idea in the world, but the execution has been long and tough and we’re still just trying to get it right. But that it’s worth it, and that it will always be worth it.”
Schneider got his start on “Saturday Night Live” as a writer in 1988 before becoming a cast member in 1990. The actor stayed with the sketch comedy show for four seasons.
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