On Saturday Night Live

When Barack Obama won the Democratic nomination over Hillary Clinton, I was unsure as to how SNL would be able to survive the three years between him eventually winning the presidency and the next election cycle. SNL had been running on fumes since the mid-90s gaining the necessary fuel to survive only in the September thru November stretch before the presidential elections. Occasionally they could bust out some worthwhile sketch involving the all-too-easy caricatures of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. But No Drama Obama didn’t hold the same promise as Slick Willie and Dubya. Fred Armisen doesn’t really do a very good job with Obama in my opinion. Plus, the comedy, from the sketches I’ve seen, has to rely on Obama as a straight man responding to the general craziness of Washington. Biden has more promise, but I think Biden is funnier than any impersonation of him could be. I wondered if this might actually spell the end of the institution.

Then came Sarah Palin, who is such a transcendent caricature herself that SNL could probably just pay Tina Fey a couple million dollars every few weeks to make a brief appearance as the thrilla from Wasilla and it would sustain their business until the fall of 2012.

I haven’t seen an episode of SNL since probably 2001 and haven’t felt as if I’ve missed anything at all other than the occasional sketch, which gets the internet rounds enough that it doesn’t matter to me anyhow. But I bet that Lorne Michaels has been secretly toasting to Sarah Palin for the last 1.5 years, probably encouraging her behind the scenes just so he can prep Fey for her next appearance. I don’t know if I think that Fey is actually that great at impersonating the half-term governor, but it’s funnier than anyone trying to impersonate Obama. Seriously, what can anyone do to impersonate Obama that is truly funny? I don’t think this is just because I like Obama and don’t like Palin. I just don’t think that Obama is very funny. Palin, on the other hand, is a joke.


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One Response to “On Saturday Night Live”

  1. Anthony CLD Says:


    I think you would be happily surprised at the 2009-10 cast of SNL. You’re right that Armison’s Obama is mostly a str8 man, but in the past year they haven’t pulled punches… both on wknd update and in the cold opens, Obama has taken some pretty pointed sarcasm. Of course, this has tapered off since the healthcare bill passed.

    The bright spots right now are Kristen Wiig – almost everything she does is brilliantly original (tho at times she shows shades of Carol Burnett). She has a couple reoccurring characters that ought not reoccur, but for the most part her sketches are worth the wait.

    Sarah really likes Kenan Thompson… at times I agree with her. Seth Myers does a serviceable job at anchor. And every now and again Bill Haders impressions are fantastic.

    Anyway, my two cents.

    Keep up the good work

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