Sean Spicer panned for 'Saturday Night Fever' disco moves: 'Monday night lukewarm'

Monday was movie night for 11 celebrity and pro-dancer couples competing in the 2019 season of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.” Above, Sean Spicer and Lindsay Arnold re-enact a scene from the 1977 hit “Saturday Night Live.” (ABC/Eric McCandless)

Melissa McCarthy could have a field day with this.

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The actress who lampooned former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on "Saturday Night Live" had only his performance behind the podium for ammunition during her heyday with the character in 2017.

Now, the 48-year-old who launched a thousand memes from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is getting ribbed for trying to channel the legendary moves of Tony Manero, the disco prince portrayed by a leisure-suit wearing John Travolta in 1977's "Saturday Night Fever."

Travolta, however, was 23 — less than half Spicer's age — when "Saturday Night Fever" was released, having made a name for himself in TV's "Welcome Back, Kotter" and "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble."

Before Spicer's White House turn, he was best known for handling communications for the Republican National Committee under Reince Priebus, an experience far afield from trying to capture the rhythm of the Bee Gees' hit "Night Fever" with partner Lindsay Arnold on "Dancing With the Stars."

According to the website "Just Jared," Spicer was skewered by judges including Len Goodman, who said the political spokesman's moves were "less 'Saturday Night Fever' and more Monday night lukewarm."

Of course, it was never going to be easy: Travolta's performance was copied by a generation of teens who longed for the movie-poster mystique displayed in every shopping mall record store.

"Travolta on the dance floor is like a peacock on amphetamines," Chicago Tribune movie critic Gene Siskel wrote in a review quoted by Zoomer and other digital publications. "He struts like crazy."


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