Here's How Larry David Came To Play Bernie Sanders On 'SNL'

Let me explain something.

He's a somewhat crotchety old man that's mostly bald and culturally Jewish. He frowns a lot, waves his arms emphatically, and has incredibly strong opinions that many view as too extreme. Frankly, he might not be all that enjoyable to hang out with, but in small doses, he can be very affable.

Pick one: Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, or Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm creator Larry David. Either way, you'd be right.

If you've paid attention to either political or entertainment-related news over the past three months, you know that David has appeared a number of times on Saturday Night Live with a spot-on impression of Sanders — grumpiness, far-left ideals, gesticulation, et al. The first time was during the October 17 Tracy Morgan-hosted episode, when he came out as the last candidate to an extended applause. Check it out below at the 2:07 mark:


Obviously, it was a match destined to be. And according to a Vulture interview with SNL co–head writer Rob Klein, everyone involved realized it at the same time. Here's a snippet of the Klein's words:

"We knew Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider were going to write the debate sketch. They write the Hillary pieces, which they do so well, and while we were watching the real debate, Sarah said, 'Larry David should really play Bernie Sanders.' At the same time, Lorne was at dinner with Tracy [Morgan], who was hosting that week. While the debate was happening, someone at dinner said to Lorne, 'Hey, you should really get Larry David to play Bernie Sanders. It's like the same guy.' Then Lorne came back from dinner and got a phone call from Larry's agent saying that Larry David wanted to play Bernie Sanders."

As for that first appearance, Klein described it as a dream come true. "From the moment he was on the stage, it was like we had already won, and then the script itself was so good that it gave it a whole extra level of intelligence," he said.

And with respect to David's work trying to mimic Sanders, Klein acknowledged that their personalities seem to overlap somewhat, which made writing the jokes easy. However, David put in the extra effort to get his mannerisms down. "He could have been lazy about it and it would have worked incredibly well, but he was all over it," praised Klein.

So there you have it. The story behind the best SNL political impression since Tina Fey as Sarah Palin during the 2008 election cycle. Look out for more Larry/Bernie this weekend, as David's hosting the upcoming episode of SNL.

Pretty, pretty, pretty good.

Cover image: Saturday Night Live via YouTube


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