Video: SNL cold open rips Obama on immigration executive order

We didn’t get to this yesterday, but it’s worth watching — especially if you’re in my age range and remember Schoolhouse Rock when it was in its original run. Those of us who grew up on the ABC animated shorts about education and government may appreciate this most, but perhaps it’s Washington DC that needs to go back to civics classes these days. Saturday Night Live parodied “It’s Only A Bill” to take a swipe at Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration, even needling him on the fact that the midterm elections showed that voters didn’t want this kind of action:


The Washington Post followed up by fact-checking the SNL skit, although it didn’t come from the WaPo’s usual fact-checker, Glenn Kessler, but from one of its Wonkblog contributors:

This skit got a couple of things right, and a couple of things wrong. For starters, Obama didn’t sign an executive order. He is taking executive action, in particular by directing the Department of Homeland Security to expand programs that defer deportation for classes of undocumented immigrants — parents of U.S. citizens or permanent-resident children, as well as undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children.

See a handy flow chart to determine who qualifies.

Obama’s action on Thursday adds 4 million new eligible immigrants, on top of the 1 million young immigrants who became eligible for deferred deportation under Obama’s original 2012 program.

The cold open got the basic explanation of what the difference is between a law and executive order right. And SNL also is correct that more Americans, even if they support comprehensive immigration reform, don’t believe Obama should do it by fiat.


Will fact-checking satire and comedy be a regular feature at the Washington Post? I’m not aware of a deep and critical need for such an effort, but then again, I’m handicapped by having a sense of humor. Let me contribute to the effort to make sure that comedy sticks to the facts:

  • There are actually very few people with cone-shaped heads, and they rarely talk like robots.
  • The Blues Brothers were actually not related to each other in real life.
  • Gerald Ford was actually one of the most athletic and physically gifted Presidents we’ve had.
  • Catholic schoolgirls don’t really stick their fingers in their armpits and smell them for inspiration.
  • There are no such things as landsharks.
  • Don’t Fear The Reaper didn’t really need more cowbell.
  • Church ladies are usually lovely, vivacious women who contribute much to their communities.
  • Czechoslovakian refugees had more to worry about than going “wild and crazy” at discos.
  • Sarah Palin never said she could see Russia from her house.
  • We have not, in fact, checked the lobster, but it might be delicious depending on its preparation. You should tip the waitress, though, even if she does have a couple of days off during the week.

Let me know when I can join the Comedy Fact-Checking Brigade at the Washington Post. Hopefully I get in soon, because the job will certainly disappear when a Republican gets elected President in 2016.

Update: Jeff Dunetz says the WaPo doesn’t get it. Obviously.

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