On Friday, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and Curb Your Enthusiasm star Larry David – who portrays the socialist senator on Saturday Night Live – were both booked on NBC’s Today show. Taking advantage of the situation, the broadcast arranged a brief comedy skit between their two guests in which David proclaimed that Sanders becoming president would “be great for the country, terrible for me.”
Following a surprisingly challenging interview with co-host Savannah Guthrie, Sanders stuck around to promote an upcoming interview with his SNL doppelgänger. Standing between Sanders and David, weatherman Al Roker pretended not to know who was who. He observed: “If you [Sanders] become president, you’ve [David] got to be flying back and forth to play him on SNL.”
David then jokingly complained about the possibility of having to continue traveling back and forth from his home in Los Angeles to the SNL set in New York City: “Yes, yes, that’s true. It’s not going to be easy for me. It’ll be great for the country, terrible for me.” Amid laughter, Sanders delivered his line: “I’m getting you a good job for four years and you’re complaining?”
Keeping up the routine, David worried about Sanders’ standing in the presidential race: “He’s doing too well. It’s frightening to me, how well he’s doing. I have to rethink everything after this.”
Appearing on CBS’s Late Show Wednesday night, David engaged in a similar bit with liberal host Stephen Colbert.
During the interview on Friday’s Today, co-host Hoda Kotb claimed that the appearance of Sanders and David on the same day was just “All coincidence” and that they “didn’t plan any of it.”
She then touted how the comedian and the Vermont Senator were apparently “really like related, for real.” David explained: “We’re second or third cousins, yeah.” Guthrie wondered: “You feel that?” David replied: “Yeah, I do. I feel a familial connection with him. I do.”
On Monday night, Sanders’ fellow left-wing presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren gushed to Late Night host Seth Meyers over SNL cast member Kate McKinnon’s “fabulous” and “smart” impersonation of her.
Usually the point of comedy is to mock the powerful, but when it comes to SNL, it seems the main focus of the show is try to make radical Democratic candidates seem endearing.
Here are excerpts of David’s January 10 appearance on the Today show:
8:06 AM ET
AL ROKER: I am here with Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Larry David. [Standing between Bernie Sanders and Larry David] No, wait. Oh, Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Larry David. Here they are together. If you become president, you’ve got to be flying back and forth to play him on SNL.
LARRY DAVID: Yes, yes, that’s true. It’s not going to be easy for me. It’ll be great for the country, terrible for me. [Laughter]
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS [I-VT]: I’m getting you a good job for four years and you’re complaining?
ROKER: They’re not related at all. Coming up next, we’re going to talk to Larry about the new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm and what it’s like to play Senator Bernie Sanders on SNL. Everybody happy?
ROKER: Oh, that was – now?
DAVID: Not so much. He’s doing too well. It’s frightening to me, how well he’s doing. [Laughter] I have to rethink everything after this.
8:17 AM ET
HODA KOTB: We thought it was so weird that you were booked today. Bernie Sanders was booked today. All coincidence. We didn’t plan any of it.
DAVID: I know.
KOTB: What I didn’t realize was I didn’t know y’all were really like related, for real.
KOTB: What's the connect?
DAVID: We’re second or third cousins, yeah.
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: You feel that?
DAVID: We go back to the old country. Yeah, I do. I feel a familial connection with him. I do.
GUTHRIE: I don’t want you to take this the wrong way, but now sitting here and then I just interviewed him, I don’t think you are acting when you do Bernie Sanders.
DAVID: Yeah, there’s not much too it. There’s not much too it.
GUTHRIE: It’s kind of like you?
DAVID: Yeah, it’s a little.
KOTB: Turn the volume up a little?
DAVID: Yeah, there’s not much to it.