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Can SNL find something new to satirize in the Clinton-Trump debate?

Taran Killam, Donald Trump and Darrell Hammond on SNL last year.
Taran Killam, Donald Trump and Darrell Hammond on SNL last year.

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The quality of "Saturday Night Live" has ebbed and flowed over the decades, but the show has been consistently funny in election years. After the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, you can bet on seeing it parodied when the sketch show launches its new season this weekend.

Ted Johnson, a senior editor at Variety who covers the intersection of politics and entertainment, joined Frame's guest host Priska Neely. He laid out the comedic challenge for SNL of finding something new in a debate that will have been hashed over already. 

Well, that's the big challenge because the debate was on Monday and SNL is on Saturday. That's six days that people have had to digest this. So how do they surprise the audience? You've already had a number of late night shows weigh in. 

But "Saturday Night Live" has a plan to grab audiences: Alec Baldwin will play Trump opposite Kate McKinnon’s Hillary. 

Alec Baldwin has been so associated with the show for so long, it comes with the added benefit of people saying, well, that's Alec Baldwin playing Donald Trump! 

Whether or not these parodies sit well with the candidates is another question. We've seen how McKinnon's impersonation of Clinton makes jabs at her opportunistic character.

We've seen Larry David play up Bernie Sanders' curmudgeonly side. 

And the dual impressions of Donald Trump by Taran Killam and Darrell Hammond have solidified the Republican candidate's peculiar mannerisms into the cultural zeitgeist.

Given that no one is spared, the best thing the candidates can do, Johnson says, is to laugh.

The Clinton campaign actually did something pretty smart and that is, Hillary Clinton, last year actually did a cameo on "Saturday Night Live," which tends to diffuse any kind of political punch it may have because it shows that the candidate is laughing a long with everyone. The worst thing I think for a candidate to do would be to badmouth the show afterward. 

Season 42 of "Saturday Night Live" kicks off Saturday, October 1st.

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