Let’s talk about Cecily Strong’s game-changing “clown abortion” skit

Aja Romano in Vox:

There’s an idea, particularly popular with some comedians, that the very point of comedy is to say the unsayable, to push boundaries and envelopes by articulating uncomfortable truths. Dave Chappelle embodied this recently in his controversial Netflix comedy special The Closer, his sixth for the streaming giant in which he (once again) takes up the question of how we should treat trans people and concludes (once again) that the answer is “none too carefully.” Saying the presumably unsayable is often the milieu of male comics such as Joe Rogan (whose 2016 Netflix special was called Triggered) or Bill Burr (whose last special was titled Paper Tiger). For the most part, comedy titan Saturday Night Live has sidestepped that tendency, sticking to its long-running habit of doing straightforward comedic imitations and letting the real-life, absurdist politics speak for themselves under cover of parody — until this past weekend.

Cast member Cecily Strong’s recent “clown abortion” sketch for “Weekend Update” — in which she plays “Goober the Clown,” a red-nose-wearing balloon-animal maker under pressure to discuss her abortion thanks to Texas’s debilitating ban on abortions after six weeks — may well go down as one of the starkest political critiques in the show’s recent history. What becomes clear over the course of the bit is that this may well be Strong’s own personal anecdote, too. As it’s related between clown gags, it’s a reminder that some things do go unsaid in American life, but they might not be the ones we hear the usual suspects yell about.

More here.