All of my regular readers know that sometimes I write the funny. The "Clamato" essay linked in the right-hand sidebar of this page might be one of the best examples. Comedy is hard. It takes a lot of drafts. But why bellyache? That's what I do. And, as with all sorts of writing, when I take in someone else's efforts, I see things the lay audience does not.
So I have to say it: shame on the Saturday Night Live writing staff. I know what you did. I have my suspicions about why you did it.
Both Palin skits were pancake flat last night and it wasn't Palin's fault (view them here). I don't think it was her campaign's intervention either. John McCain was delightful during the Al Smith Charity dinner, evidencing the writers behind him gave him material that was well-suited and appropriate. His campaign knows the value of humor and how to take a joke. But last night, the SNL staff bowed to politics instead of their craft and I saw it clear as day.
Instead of the flat lines they gave Baldwin while opposite Palin, imagine if the skit included something like this:
Baldwin enters the scene and Palin pulls Lorne Michaels aside.
Palin: "Hey Lorne, do you think we can get the God Baldwin instead?"
Michaels: "The God Baldwin?"
Palin: "Ya know, the God Baldwin." (beat) "Don't they have a God Baldwin?"
Or imagine if Palin stepped in line behind Fey during the "fancy pageant walk" and tapped her on the shoulder and said, "Sorry Tina, but that's not quite right." (beat) "I think you've been overhandled."
That's just lame off-the-cuff ideas I came up with in ten minutes. If I'd had a week, I could have written a brilliant skit in which Palin would have come off funny and charming and self-deprecating. But the SNL writers played the worst kind of partisan politics. They pulled back from their best material because they didn't want to give Palin the bloom they know their craft can impart.
Bad, bad lefties. I am shaking my head in disappointment.