Watch Sean Spicer React to Melissa McCarthy’s S.N.L. Emmy Win

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Spicey’s back, baby! On Wednesday night, the former White House press secretary sat down with Jimmy Kimmel for his first TV appearance since resigning from his post at at the end of July. (Compare that with Anthony Scaramucci, who sat down with Stephen Colbert nearly three weeks after his own ouster.) Although the press secretary refused to bad-mouth the president, he did offer some thoughts on the media—and, perhaps most amusingly, reacted to Melissa McCarthy’s recent Emmy win for impersonating him on Saturday Night Live.

Kimmel rolled a clip of McCarthy’s first appearance on S.N.L. as Spicer on Wednesday night; in response, Spicer quipped that McCarthy’s mimicry “cost me a lot of money in therapy.” Still, he admitted, “that was kind of funny.”

Spicer has commented on McCarthy’s impression before. Back in February, when McCarthy’s act was just ramping up, he said her first appearance on Saturday Night Live was “very funny,” but advised that she “could dial back” a bit. (He saved his real ire for the way the sketch show treated his then boss.) On Kimmel, Spicer confirmed that McCarthy’s repeated mockery annoyed the president, saying, “I don’t think he found as much humor in it as others.” As for the reports that indicated the president was especially steamed because his male press secretary was being played by a woman, Spicer kept coy: “I really didn’t ask a ton of questions,” he said to a peal of laughter from the audience. “That may have been a contributing factor.”

Still, as Kimmel pointed out, Spicer was in a tight spot: not only was he getting made fun of, but his boss was mad about it. “And then she wins an Emmy!” Spicer cut in without missing a beat. Comedians might have helped chase this guy from the White House, but it’s nice to see he really does have a sense of humor after all.

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Full ScreenPhotos:8 TV Press Secretaries Sean Spicer Could Learn from

C.J. Cregg, The West Wing

Who could forget Allison Janney’s shrewd, sharp-tongued West Wing character? There’s a whole lot Spicer could learn from C.J., including how to regale everyone by lip synching Ronny Jordan’s ”The Jackal.” Cregg was poised, and always operated well under fire. Sure, Spicer is under a lot of pressure—but remember that C.J. was at one point dealing with death threats so bad that a Secret Service agent was assigned to protect her.

Photo: by Mitch Haddad/NBC/.

__Mike McLintock, *Veep*__

Mike McLintock, Veep

Let’s be clear: Matt Walsh’s character is far from an admirable press secretary. (Is anyone on Veep actually good at their job?) He’s lazy, malcontent, and overall incompetent. But at the very least, he is also outstandingly loyal to Selina Meyer—which exposes him to a lot of humiliation, but also basically guarantees his spot by her side. Spicer could also use Mike as an example in another regard: it’s the president and his or her administration that’s supposed to make the messes. The press secretary himself isn’t supposed to be the one causing P.R. problems.

Photo: By Lacey Terrell/HBO.

__Abby Whelan, *Scandal*__

Abby Whelan, Scandal

Another ace press secretary? Abby Whelan, as portrayed by Darby Stanchfield on Scandal. Abby’s the one who once saved the day by yanking the president, Fitzgerald Grant, out of an interview with the First Lady just as Olivia Pope was about to confess to being his mistress. Abby’s silver-tongued lie is a sight to behold, as she tells reporters that a suspected intruder has triggered security profiles that require them to empty the room mid-interview. Thanks to Abby, the reporters were all gone by the time the First Lady caught a glimpse of Olivia’s confession.

Photo: by Byron Cohen/ABC/.

__Seth Wright, *Designated Survivor*__

Seth Wright, Designated Survivor

To put it bluntly, Seth Wright is what every press secretary aspires to be. Originally a speech writer, Seth (Kal Penn) came through in the clutch when new president Tom Kirkman’s originally appointed press secretary failed—delivering a home-run performance to the very reporters who had just chased the actual press secretary away from the podium. Beyond simply knowing his way around the issues, Seth is well-spoken and knows how to command a room. It’s no wonder that before long, he became one of Tom’s closest advisers. To borrow a word beloved by our real-life press secretary, he is “phenomenal.”

Photo: By Ben Mark Holzberg/ABC/.

__Marshall Malloy, *1600 Penn*__

Marshall Malloy, 1600 Penn

While 1600 Penn came and went on NBC, Andre Holland’s press secretary character, Marshall Malloy, quickly established himself as intelligent and passionate about his role in the White House. He was like family to president Dale Gilchrist (Bill Pullman), which sometimes meant he found himself trying to, say, coach the president’s son Skip (Josh Gad) on how to record a simple 30-minute statement. Granted, usually things went awry no matter what Marshall did—but he’s a lesson in perseverance (and sharp dressing), if nothing else.

Photo: By Byron Cohen/NBC/.

__Jenny Dodge, *24*__

Jenny Dodge, 24

First of all, hats off to Tamlyn Tomita’s 24 character for having the best surname for any press secretary, real or fictional. The Season 2 character lived up to that name by deflecting press questions about a potential nuclear threat in Los Angeles. Could Spicer pull off a similar feat?

__Sean Spicer, *Saturday Night Live*__

Sean Spicer, Saturday Night Live

Yes: technically, Sean Spicer already is Sean Spicer. But there’s a lot he could learn from the version of himself played by Melissa McCarthy on S.N.L. At least that Sean Spicer is funny on purpose—and comes prepared with a water gun. If you’re going to give an unhinged performance, the least you can do is make people laugh.

Photo: by Will Heath/NBC/.

<strong>C.J. Cregg, <em>The West Wing</em></strong>

C.J. Cregg, The West Wing

Who could forget Allison Janney’s shrewd, sharp-tongued West Wing character? There’s a whole lot Spicer could learn from C.J., including how to regale everyone by lip synching Ronny Jordan’s ”The Jackal.” Cregg was poised, and always operated well under fire. Sure, Spicer is under a lot of pressure—but remember that C.J. was at one point dealing with death threats so bad that a Secret Service agent was assigned to protect her.

by Mitch Haddad/NBC/.

<strong>Mike McLintock, <em>Veep</em></strong>

Mike McLintock, Veep

Let’s be clear: Matt Walsh’s character is far from an admirable press secretary. (Is anyone on Veep actually good at their job?) He’s lazy, malcontent, and overall incompetent. But at the very least, he is also outstandingly loyal to Selina Meyer—which exposes him to a lot of humiliation, but also basically guarantees his spot by her side. Spicer could also use Mike as an example in another regard: it’s the president and his or her administration that’s supposed to make the messes. The press secretary himself isn’t supposed to be the one causing P.R. problems.

By Lacey Terrell/HBO.

<strong>Abby Whelan, <em>Scandal</em></strong>

Abby Whelan, Scandal

Another ace press secretary? Abby Whelan, as portrayed by Darby Stanchfield on Scandal. Abby’s the one who once saved the day by yanking the president, Fitzgerald Grant, out of an interview with the First Lady just as Olivia Pope was about to confess to being his mistress. Abby’s silver-tongued lie is a sight to behold, as she tells reporters that a suspected intruder has triggered security profiles that require them to empty the room mid-interview. Thanks to Abby, the reporters were all gone by the time the First Lady caught a glimpse of Olivia’s confession.

by Byron Cohen/ABC/.

<strong>Seth Wright, <em>Designated Survivor</em></strong>

Seth Wright, Designated Survivor

To put it bluntly, Seth Wright is what every press secretary aspires to be. Originally a speech writer, Seth (Kal Penn) came through in the clutch when new president Tom Kirkman’s originally appointed press secretary failed—delivering a home-run performance to the very reporters who had just chased the actual press secretary away from the podium. Beyond simply knowing his way around the issues, Seth is well-spoken and knows how to command a room. It’s no wonder that before long, he became one of Tom’s closest advisers. To borrow a word beloved by our real-life press secretary, he is “phenomenal.”

By Ben Mark Holzberg/ABC/.

<strong>Seth Grayson, <em>House of Cards</em></strong>

Seth Grayson, House of Cards

Hey, there’s no rule that states you can’t learn something from the conniving—and if there’s one lesson Spicer could take away from Derek Cecil’s turn as the calculating Seth Grayson on House of Cards, it’s that composure is key. Seth knows how to play things cool and keep his personal feelings under wraps—which serves him well, as even three seasons after meeting him, we still don’t really know him. Spicer could look to him as an example of how to mask personal feelings—especially stress.

By David Giesbrecht/© Netflix/Everett Collection.

<strong>Marshall Malloy, <em>1600 Penn</em></strong>

Marshall Malloy, 1600 Penn

While 1600 Penn came and went on NBC, Andre Holland’s press secretary character, Marshall Malloy, quickly established himself as intelligent and passionate about his role in the White House. He was like family to president Dale Gilchrist (Bill Pullman), which sometimes meant he found himself trying to, say, coach the president’s son Skip (Josh Gad) on how to record a simple 30-minute statement. Granted, usually things went awry no matter what Marshall did—but he’s a lesson in perseverance (and sharp dressing), if nothing else.

By Byron Cohen/NBC/.

<strong>Jenny Dodge, <em>24</em></strong>

Jenny Dodge, 24

First of all, hats off to Tamlyn Tomita’s 24 character for having the best surname for any press secretary, real or fictional. The Season 2 character lived up to that name by deflecting press questions about a potential nuclear threat in Los Angeles. Could Spicer pull off a similar feat?

<strong>Sean Spicer, <em>Saturday Night Live</em></strong>

Sean Spicer, Saturday Night Live

Yes: technically, Sean Spicer already is Sean Spicer. But there’s a lot he could learn from the version of himself played by Melissa McCarthy on S.N.L. At least that Sean Spicer is funny on purpose—and comes prepared with a water gun. If you’re going to give an unhinged performance, the least you can do is make people laugh.

by Will Heath/NBC/.



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