If you don’t like Mike Lindell, don’t buy a MyPillow. There you go.
You don’t have to make fun of his prior drug addiction. You don’t have to imply he’s using drugs again, absent any evidence to that effect. You don’t have to insinuate his voter fraud claims are all because he’s hitting the crack pipe and talking to his pillow.
None of these things are necessary. All of them formed the basis of a skit on “Saturday Night Live” this weekend.
As you’re probably aware, Lindell, who founded the Minnesota-based bedding giant MyPillow, is an ardent supporter of former President Donald Trump. He’s also been permanently banned from Twitter after repeated allegations of election fraud from his account.
If you’re looking for a defense of Lindell’s theories, look elsewhere. He wasn’t advancing standard voter fraud concerns. He’s continued to put forth fringe voter fraud theories that Dominion Systems voting machines were algorithmically hacked to deliver fraudulent results, as Bloomberg reported. He’s gone on to claim the attacks came from China, as CBS News reported. He brought in papers to a meeting at the White House that seemed to advocate for martial law. (Lindell told Bloomberg someone gave him that paper to give to the president, a clarification which doesn’t help his case, if true.)
So, no, the last few weeks haven’t been kind to Mr. Lindell. Perhaps some time away from Twitter, Trump and the 2020 election would do him good. Furthermore, it’s easy to concede his election-related claims make for fecund ground for parody.
I don’t believe I’m entering snowflake territory, however, when I say that Saturday’s “Weekend Update” bit about the whole kerfuffle — in which a crazed Lindell, who’s intimated to be using crack again and talks to his pillow about voter fraud conspiracy theories — manages to be both cruel and offensive.
Playing Lindell was Beck Bennett, who proved yet again that the further I get from 13 years old, the less I recognize the “Saturday Night Live” cast and the gladder I am that’s the case.
In a portrayal that owed as much to Chris Farley’s Matt “Van Down by the River” Foley as it did to Lindell himself, Bennett decided making fun of former crack addicts falling back into the habit was hee-larious stuff.
The crack addict jokes began when “Weekend Update” anchor Colin Jost asked Bennett-as-Lindell about playing a role in starting the Capitol incursion of Jan. 6.
“Well, hold on there, buck-o,” he responded. “I didn’t inspire no insurrection, nobody. I’m just a normal, American, ex-crack addict turned pillow CEO and adviser to a former president.”
This is still within the bounds of taste, if lingering around the fringes. Lindell has made his past drug addiction part of his personal narrative, thus making it fair game.
The skit further charted the fringes when Jost said Bennett-as-Lindell might not know what democracy is, given the whole “martial law” papers to-do.
“Yeah, that may be,” he responded. “But hey, I’m not a politics guy. I’m a pillow guy.
“Before MyPillow, I tried sleeping on everything. Dirt, cement, old mens’ laps — but I tell you what set MyPillow apart: It has fantastic political ideas.”
As it turns out, the MyPillow talks to Lindell, much like David Berkowitz’s neighbor’s dog “spoke” to the killer known as Son of Sam:
“What’s that, MyPillow? Uh-huh? Really? Wow! MyPillow said Dominion overrode the voting machine algorithms!” Becket-as-Lindell said in the skit. “Yeah! Yeah! So that China could swing it for Biden, with Hugo Chavez, Kim Jong Un and Chrissy Teigen!”
“Dude, you are all over the place,” Jost said.
“No, you’re on crack again!” Bennett-as-Lindell responded.
From there, it’s not even about the Twitter ban or Lindell’s claims. Instead, we wallow in drug addict jokes, with Bennett reading out of a fake chapter of Lindell’s memoir in which he meets MyPillow after a drug binge in Mexico. They both promise to clean up their act, but not before a final blowout with “two-peso whores and a truck load of crack.”
Political humor is supposed to punch up, not down. You’re punching up at Mike Lindell if you portray him as a close ally of the president’s who hasn’t had a good few weeks. You’re punching down at Mike Lindell if you portray him as a wild-eyed crackhead who’s relapsed.
Not only does this punch down, the writers and Bennett seem happy to admit it.
The skit devolves to the point where it doesn’t pretend to be about anything other than Lindell-the-addict. You try and find the joke about voter fraud hidden in Bennett-as-Lindell talking about being “face down in a Mexican street — again — a– out, no clue where I was.”
This isn’t just rhetorical — if you can spot any punchline about Lindell’s election fraud claims in the last minute of this sketch, which is entirely devoted to reading from a phony version of Lindell’s memoir about recovering drug addiction, I implore you to send me an author message and point it out. I don’t expect my inbox to fill up.
Lindell was addicted to drugs, a chronic mental health issue. You can hate everything that comes out of the man’s mouth and still agree that, as an individual, his continued sobriety is admirable. Furthermore, his past drug use is entirely divorced from what he’s being pilloried for now.
Compare Lindell with another crack-smoking, election-adjacent individual, Hunter Biden. Biden’s sobriety is, if established, significantly more tenuous. It plays a part in the scandals the president’s son has found himself embroiled in and raises significant questions about why someone with a history of public recent drug abuse continued to get high-profile gigs, like his $50,000-a-month seat on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings.
Hunter Biden’s crack addiction doesn’t get laughed at on “Saturday Night Live.” Instead, it inspires serious headlines like “When Joe Biden Spoke of Hunter’s Struggles With Addiction, He Also Spoke of My Own” (Vogue), “Hunter Biden’s drug use doesn’t make him a ‘loser'” (USA Today) and “Trump’s attack on Hunter Biden will only increase the stigma of addiction” (The Washington Post).
Let’s see those now. Let’s see The Washington Post and USA Today take a stand for Mike Lindell. His past addiction played no role in the claims he made — and yet “Saturday Night Live” dredged it up anyway in a skit that had far more to do with crack jokes than election fraud theories.
This isn’t comedy, this is cruelty.
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