Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont made his first appearance on “Saturday Night Live,” playing a Jewish Democratic socialist immigrant coming to America on a sinking ship. It wasn’t such a stretch.
In the sketch, in which he appeared next to the show’s host and his doppelgänger, Larry David, Mr. Sanders protests the way Mr. David seeks special treatment over women and children because he is wealthy.
That was when Mr. Sanders made a surprise appearance from steerage.
“Hold on, hold on, wait a second,” Mr. Sanders said to applause from the crowd. “I’m so sick of the one percent getting this preferential treatment,” he said, adding a familiar line from his stump speech. “Enough is enough.”
Mr. David, who was putting on an accent that dipped between Irish and Flatbush, told Mr. Sanders that his ideas “sound like socialism to me.”
“Democratic socialism,” corrected Mr. Sanders.
Mr. Sanders’s character then introduced himself as “Bernie Sanderswitsky.” But, he added, “We are going to change it when we get to America so it doesn’t sound so Jewish.”
“Yeah, that will trick them,” Mr. David said as they safely made it to New York’s shores.
The skit followed an earlier, and frankly funnier, sketch called “Bern Your Enthusiasm,” in which Mr. David revisited the familiar plotlines and characters of his show “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” but in the character of Mr. Sanders. The sketch began with Mr. David walking into a campaign event but refusing to shake the hand of a woman after she coughed into it. When told he is being rude, he says, “She’s the one who is being rude by offering a germ-infested hand.” The woman and her family are not amused.
He then returns to his Iowa campaign headquarters, where he is criticized, as usual, by Jeff and his wife, Susie, and other familiar characters from “Curb,” who are now his campaign advisers.
He goes out to take a walk. On the street, a Sanders supporter who has crashed her car recognizes him and asks for help popping her dislocated shoulder back in. “I’m from Brooklyn; we don’t pop in Brooklyn,” he says, again running away.
When he returns to campaign headquarters, Mr. David’s Bernie Sanders discovers that he has lost by essentially five votes, the number of people he offended that day.
The appearance, squeezed in among campaign events in New Hampshire before the primary on Tuesday, enshrines Mr. Sanders as a cultural personality in a league with Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump, who have also appeared on the show this election season. After the sketch, Mr. Sanders changed his Twitter avatar to Mr. David playing Mr. Sanders.
The real Mr. Sanders returned to the show one more time, standing next to Mr. David as they prepared to throw over to the night’s musical entertainment.
Mr. David asked him how things were going in New Hampshire, and Mr. Sanders said, “O.K.”
“Just O.K.?” Mr. David asked.
“It’s pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good,” Mr. Sanders replied, in an attempt at an impression of Mr. David.
“That’s great, Bernie,” Mr. David said generously.
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