Tennessee Lt. Gov. Randy McNally received the “Saturday Day Night Live” treatment, after the comedy show hosted a segment about last week’s social media controversy involving McNally‘s string of comments on a young man’s mature Instagram photos.
SNL cast member Molly Kearney appeared as McNally on SNL’s Weekend Update, making light of comments by McNally’s spokesperson about how the long-time Republican lawmaker uses social media.
“I didn’t think people would find out because I used a screen name,” Kearney explained in character as McNally.
The screenname: “Lieutenant Governor McNally,” she said.
McNally’s comments, scattered across the Instagram of 20-year-old Franklin McClure. The Oak Ridge Republican made a number of comments on McClure’s posts, including on more suggestive photos. One January photo of McClure, for instance, shows a low-angled selfie taken from behind with the man shirtless and in boxer briefs.
“Finn, you can turn a rainy day into rainbows and sunshine,” McNally commented on the post, along with sending heart and fire emojis.
How did this start?: Lt. Gov. Randy McNally faces criticism for comments on young man’s mature Instagram photos
Kearney’s co-anchor comedian Colin Jost of Weekend Update attempted to grill Kearney on the comments, but Kearney brushed him off during the skit.
“I don’t discriminate,” Kearney said still in character. “I comment on photos of all orientations. Orientations like: from the side, from the front, from the back. There does not have to be a butt, but it helps.”
The jokes continued to mock the statement made by McNally’s spokesperson Adam Kleinheider Thursday, in which Kleinheider stated that McNally simply “enjoys interacting with constituents and Tennesseans of all religions, backgrounds and orientations on social media.”
McNally’s office also referred to him as a “prolific social media commenter.”
“Trying to imply something sinister or inappropriate about a great-grandfather’s use of social media says more about the mind of the left-wing operative making the implication than it does about Randy McNally,” spokesperson Kleinheider said in the statement last week, referring to the liberal advocacy site Tennessee Holler, which first highlighted the posts.
When Jost insisted that the comments just “don’t look good,” Kearney assured him that it was completely innocent.
“I’m just looking out for the little guy,” Kearney said. “Joe Average. Every Tom, Dick, and Hairless.”
The controversy around McNally’s comments comes as the Republican supermajority in the General Assembly, where McNally leads the Senate, has pushed through a series of bills in recent weeks that LGBTQ advocates have decried as discriminatory. One of the new laws prohibits “adult-oriented” entertainment, including “male and female impersonators,” from public property and limits it to age-restricted venues.
In the past, McNally has shown reluctance to greenlight or support bills critics say target the LGBTQ community, though he has not openly opposed any of the recent bills.
“I try to encourage people on my posts. I try to support people,” McNally told reporters last week. “I have friends that are gay, I have friends with relatives who are gay. I don’t feel any animosity towards gay people. I think that’s fairly clear.”
McClure, who is gay, said Wednesday he felt McNally had been hypocritical for showing support to him personally on social media while backing the legislation.
Melissa Brown contributed to this story.
Have a story to tell? Reach Angele Latham by email at email@example.com, by phone at 731-343-5212, or follow her on Twitter at @angele_latham.