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Palin and 'SNL:' Politics v. Entertainment

Posted by Joanna Weiss  October 6, 2008 08:16 AM

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Love or hate her, you can surely say this for Sarah Palin: She drives web traffic, she drives blood pressure rates, she drives interest in "Saturday Night Live," and she drives appreciation for Tina Fey -- enough, I'm hoping, that more people will tune into "30 Rock" when it premieres on October 30. The frenzy she's injected into this political season will surely be a boost for "Weekend Update Thursday," the series of election specials that will premiere this Thursday night at 9:30.

Fey, who reportedly resisted playing Palin at the start -- she told Lorne Michaels that she wasn't an impressionist -- has inhabited this part as if she were born to play it. And Palin is certainly a gift to comediennes; I can't think of anyone on the political stage who has played her own role so broadly. Does she know that what she's contributed most to this election ramp-up is a heightened sense of entertainment? (If it weren't accompanied with such rancor, from both sides, it would be something of a relief.) This week's debate sketch was probably my favorite of the "SNL" Palin sketches so far, which has a lot to do with the raw material. If the Katie Couric interviews were all about discomfort, last week's vice presidential debate was all about showmanship.

The sketch was probably a bit of national catharsis. Nearly 70 million people watched the actual debate, hoping for fireworks or major gaffes, and not getting quite enough of either. "Saturday Night Live" stripped away the facts and partisanship and reduced the debate to its raw material: personality. I think I laughed hardest when Fey-as-Palin referenced the drinking game -- "Maverick!" she said proudly into the camera, then pantomimed chugging a beer -- though I also giggled a lot when Jason Sudeikis, as Joe Biden, launched into a monologue about the awfulness of Scranton. Getting spoofed by "SNL" is a badge of honor, and Biden should be proud. But he should also know that far fewer people would have watched (and forwarded, and clicked) if he had been debating, say, Mitt Romney.

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32 comments so far...
  1. Palin is such a caricature herself, spoofing her on SNL is almost over the top, really. Sometimes, it's hard to remember if I'm watching the spoof or the real thing (or Palin spoofing herself, really).

    It's great if this gets people to watch "30 Rock" but Tina Fey is such a talented, funny, bright light in Hollywood, I hope that spoofing Palin doesn't become her defining role because she has so much more to offer than this.

    Posted by hot-tomato October 6, 08 09:49 AM
  1. I really feel this ugly scumbag witch stop with the stupid spoof of Sara Palin,
    She is starting to look uglier the more she does it, it is not even funny. I used to watch SNL, all the time, now when I seeTina monkey continue to act like Palin, the more I want to defend Palin and vote for her. I was for Obama, now I want Palin. Well at least tina, for making me hate you, and making me admire Palin. continue the opposite will prevail, Thanks again......

    Posted by CMHinsley October 6, 08 10:17 AM
  1. This is BRILLIANT!

    Posted by Jim Laddie October 6, 08 10:24 AM
  1. God Bless Tina, by golly!

    I love that she has so much material to work with. What with Bush goin' out of office, most comedians won't have any easy material. That goodness for Palin. And , Gosh - Alaska can now join Texas in the " Missing a village idiot" club.

    Posted by Marcus October 6, 08 10:27 AM
  1. Lots of times during the VP debate I wasn't sure whether it really was Palin or Fey spoofing her. Palin was so overdone with her folksy speak, cute winks, chearleading slogans, garbling sentences, avoiding the subject that it just did not feel right.
    This is great for a comedian, but is this what a US representative should act like. ?How would she behave in NATO or other top meetings.? She would get no respect and that is what America needs badly again. By-the-way, my Joe Sixpack neighbor, who greatly connects with me, has no clue either where to start getting this country out of the deep mess.

    Posted by Susan October 6, 08 10:48 AM
  1. This is great stuff. Keep it up! How can nayone with a sense of humor not find it funny. Amyone who winks into the camera, references Joe Six Pack, is kind of soft, eh?

    Posted by Laughing Man October 6, 08 10:55 AM
  1. Oh My CMHinsley.
    I can't believe how easily swayed you are by political satire.
    It's just a joke afterall.

    Posted by MarkS October 6, 08 11:01 AM
  1. You're going to vote for Palin because of Tina Fey? Wow, there's some real brain power at work.

    Posted by Wayne October 6, 08 11:05 AM
  1. Tina Fey is a brilliant comedian. That's what this is..entertainment. Great entertainment. You can like Palin, Obama, Bush, McCain or whoever, but when SNL spoofs them it's just plain funny. Enjoy the fact that we are lucky enough to have great comedic writers and actors whose only desire is to make us laugh.

    Posted by APW October 6, 08 11:31 AM
  1. The biggest difference I noticed between the real debate and SNL's spoof is that on SNL, Ifill asked Palin a follow-up question.

    Posted by Herman October 6, 08 11:34 AM
  1. hey CM Hinsley - you are exactly the reason I think people should be given a test for the right to vote! Anyone who votes by race, sex or comedy should seriously be removed from the process

    Posted by pfc11 October 6, 08 11:35 AM
  1. Tina Fey for VP! That's a winner on any ticket!

    Posted by J McCain October 6, 08 11:36 AM
  1. WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER SKIT RIDICULING THE DEMOCRATS?

    The other SNL political skit (on the bailout, featuring Bush, Pelosi, Frank and Soros) is notable for the following reasons:

    1. It ACTUALLY places the mortgage bubble and current financial mess squarely at the feet of the Democrats in Congress and ridicules their attempts to blame the Bush administration for what clearly has their fingerprints and DNA all over it.

    2. It unintentionally succeeds in demonstrating the liberal bias of the mainstream media. While the the Palin/Biden debate spoof is receiving wide commentary, the SNL bailout skit is being virtually ignored.

    That's proof for me that there is a massive and deliberate cover-up of the Freddie/Freddie/ACORN/Democrats/Obama connection. Let's not say anything and hope no one notices!

    The ideology behind the mortgage crisis is still in place, and those who created the mess are in total and complete denial, as their leader is poised to take the White House. Electing Obama will be like making the fox with feathers in his mouth king of the coop.

    Blame BUSH for anything you want... but thank the Dems for the latest financial crisis. It's their very own social engineering pet project gone horribly wrong! And in case you haven't noticed, the total cost of all these bailouts (1.8 Trillion!) is more than the total cost of the war on terrorism since 9/11!

    Posted by Andrew O October 6, 08 11:47 AM
  1. Hey Andrew O, the topic is "Palin and 'SNL:' Politics v. Entertainment", and just like Palin, you go off on a tangent. The Fey sketches depicting Palin are the funniest sketches on SNL in decades. I want to see Fey doing this every week, right up to the election.

    Posted by R.McAir October 6, 08 12:16 PM
  1. Tina Fey is hot!! It's too bad she is a freakin intolerant liberal.

    Posted by Liberals hate October 6, 08 12:20 PM
  1. I think the real beauty of these skits is that they are depolarizing. (Yes, that is a real word.) I don't see how someone comes away feeling one party has been more harshly hammered. The skit stays close to the truth, but sticks to the primary goal of maximum comedy. So, as scary as the truth really is (face it: neither party can or will solve our nations problems), I laughed through it all. Thanks SNL!

    Posted by WY Bow Hunter October 6, 08 01:22 PM
  1. WOW! I AM STILL LAUGHING!! INCREDIBLE!! GO TINA FEY GO! ALSO BETTER
    GREAT LAUGHTER!!

    Posted by Madison October 6, 08 01:23 PM
  1. Andrew O, this is a simple conversation about 'what's funny.' I enjoyed the bailout skit, especially the Barney Frank part, but it really wasn't as funny as the debate skit. The debate is funnier because Palin is such an unbelievably exaggerated person in real life.

    Anyhow, the Palin sketches have also mocked Biden and Clinton, and as you pointed out, the bailout skit was pretty unrelenting toward the Democrats. It isn't the 'liberal media,' however, that's talking about the Palin skit instead -- it's everyone. Because it was funnier. Because Palin is funnier. Maybe if there was a skit that pit Barney Frank against Palin, everyone could be satisfied. In the meantime, no one ever will be. So just laugh and enjoy.

    Posted by tina October 6, 08 01:30 PM
  1. Andrew O has definitely several screws loose. He needs to get a permit to vote.
    How would you all like to have that bimbo Palin for pres? Chew that a while.
    Andrew O is right about one thing though neither party will bring us out of this financial mess in four years you can bet on that. What took W eight years to accomplish wont be fixed in four you can bet on it.
    Doris

    Posted by Doris Logan October 6, 08 02:21 PM
  1. Andrew, stick to the right wing talk radio paranoid conversations. It is well known that group lacks a funny bone, something you just reinforced.

    Claiming there is a liberal media cover-up because a different SNL skit is not getting the same coverage - wow that's a reach.

    Posted by zman-il October 6, 08 02:27 PM
  1. I agree with all that say Tina Fey is great - in all that she does. The Palin sketch was almost too perfect, even the exaggerations of Palin were more the real thing than comedy. The thought of her anywhere near the White House is verrry scary to me. I blame McCain for trying to be a maverick which just may allow a joke to become our president!
    As for the Demo hit on SNL, my husband, my political opposite, is just so thrilled to see them finally take a hit, he's acting like a little girl with a new puppy. Yuk. How annoying.
    If blame is what this country is turning into, then we've got a lot of work to do.

    Posted by Jody October 6, 08 03:36 PM
  1. Unbleievable... I agree with the person who stated that anyone who would reduce voting to whether or not you are offended by a comedic spoof is totally ridiculous!! We are at a crucial and historic moment in our nation and you reduce your right to vote to your distaste SNL? That's both shame and a disgrace, and a slap in the face to all of the people who lost homes, jobs, and those who come home every day wondering when the sheriff is coming to lock their doors!! Get a life, a clue and read a book!!

    Posted by Mrs Brown October 6, 08 03:56 PM
  1. I can see the end of Sarah Palins career from my house..!!!!!!

    Posted by Mike Alvin October 6, 08 04:12 PM
  1. It's hysterical, true, but then you think about Palin and it isn't that much of a spoof. Plus, she is not really a nice person; she's a phony -- did you note she didn't give Biden an ounce of human understanding or compassion when he choked up in the debate. She just memorized her notes and went on with her blather.
    She is way too ambitious for her limited capabilities. Add to that, these people who decide their vote based on being offended by a comedy skit, and the nation is in deep doo-doo.
    McCain insulted the nation he always talks about putting first. Disrespect for the office, (both Pres. and VP), disrespect for intelligent women, disrespect for the electoral process and disrespect for the country. He's a 72 year old guy who knows it's his last chance, and he sold out to Karl Rove's boys to do anything to try and get himself get elected. I hope he goes down by a landslide -- and takes Palin with him.

    Posted by avatar October 6, 08 04:36 PM
  1. Oh Andrew O - Understand this word?.......Bipartisan. Stop pointing the finger to one side.

    Posted by Lisa Lisa October 6, 08 05:19 PM
  1. The SNL parodies on Sarah Palin are great!!

    Sarah Palin's personality and views are a joke and I hope that she and McCain lose this Election or our country is sunk even further than it is now!!!

    Posted by Scout October 6, 08 05:23 PM
  1. SNL needs to do a skit based on PeeWee Herman's Playhouse, Tina Fey as Sarah Palin as Miss Yvonne would be hilarious!!!

    Posted by Dave Welch October 6, 08 08:57 PM
  1. I'm surprised by the hatred of this brilliant humor by those who support her!

    Get a clue, get a laugh, you old stiff ones!

    Posted by nancy October 6, 08 10:23 PM
  1. Dear CMHinsley, ever hear of satire? Ever realize the object of satire has generally been political? It serves the same purpose as the court jester, of old whereby he was the only one who could make fun of the king...and live. My suggestion : brush up on your Jonathan Swift for a refresher. This is nothing new.

    Posted by Robin October 6, 08 11:50 PM
  1. It seems that many of you would like to believe that Palin is an empty headed bimbo based on her looks and personality. But to really find out something about her, look at her record in Alaska and what accomplisments were made and how she governed. Do the same with Obama and Biden and then form your opinion and arguments based on that.. To do otherwise is simple-minded, lazy and dangerous when it ends up at the voting booth. Too many people base all their opinions and arguments on ungoverned emotion. Politicians and the media understands this better than anyone.

    Posted by Rob October 7, 08 05:16 PM
  1. I am so tired of this Palin-bashing that I could scream! If you don't like her, or you disagree with her views, that's fine - so be it. I disagree with the views of Obama and Biden. But do you really think that you're so cute and funny with all the stupid comments about her? Let's have some better (more grown-up) remarks in the future, shall we?

    Posted by Steve October 11, 08 04:20 PM
  1. By the way, Rob (#30) nailed it with his comments, and I probably should have just referred to him,

    Posted by Steve October 11, 08 04:21 PM
 

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