'SNL' Steers Clear of Obama, Leads with Spitzer
The three political hot potatoes thrown in the writers’ room of Saturday Night Live this week were the prostitution-ring bust snaring New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, the remarks by Geraldine Ferraro suggesting that Barack Obama is a prominent candidate only because he’s a black man, and the circulation of incendiary (sometimes called racist) videotaped sermons by Barack Obama pastor Jeremiah Wright. SNL ended up leading with the first, and all but burying the others.
In the opening skit, Bill Hader played Spitzer (below), standing at the podium with his wife next to him (a very funny silent bit by Kristen Wiig) and offering legal services, “specializing in lurid and embarrassing” cases. The number to call? 1-800-TAWDRY. (Apparently, the SNL writers couldn’t be bothered to come up with a seven-letter word to fit the phone-number gag. Why not 1-800-SCANDAL?) Later, Spitzer also was the subject of a strong “REALLY!?! With Seth and Amy” dual commentary.
The other two scandals, by contrast, were addressed only by Tracy Morgan during his guest commentary on “Weekend Update.” Neither Ferraro nor Wright was impersonated, but Morgan took swift and sure aim at his targets. Wright, he said in passing, was “too black,” while his take on the Ferraro controversy was summed up by what he called his complex philosophy: “We are a racist country. The end.”
Morgan even countered his 30 Rock co-star Tina Fey’s pronouncement, during her own SNL appearance, that “bitch was the new black.”
“Bitch may be the new black,” Morgan said to conclude his SNL guest spot, “but black is the new president, bitch!”
The other political element of SNL last night was Darrell Hammond as John McCain, whom Will Forte’s Brian Williams accused of being “crazy old.” Again, it was the media, more than the candidate, that was ridiculed in the sketch… but Hammond nailed the voice, and set the stage for some interesting months to come. The other candidate impersonations, Amy Poehler’s Hillary Clinton and Fred Armisen’s Obama, were MIA.