Sunday, October 19, 2008

Saturday Night Dead

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.


jonas said...

Everyone should now go rent "Bob Roberts"....

Diane Vogel Ferri said...

i agree. Maybe you missed another calling - we could use some actually funny writing on tv

Anonymous said...

Let's face it; SNL has sucked bollix since Eddie Murphy and that whole gang left. I can't stand to watch/hear any of these bastards' writing. The boys and girls on The Daily Show (and Colbert) have raised the bar so high, that everything else is pretty much a disappointment.

Lord Basil said...

SNL is leftist propaganda. It's cast, writers, and producers are treasonous traitors.

Anonymous said...

Lord Basil, you truly know not of what you speak. Lorne Michaels, executive producer of SNL, donated money to John McCain's campaign.

linda said...

SNL hasn't been funny in decades! Palin should have told Tina she owed her some money for the public's increased interest in her. And btw, Sarah is prettier than Tina!

Anonymous said...

Sarah Palin makes a prettier Sarah Palin than Tina Fey. But Tina Fey is pretty hot when she's not dressed up like Palin.

Erin O'Brien said...

Oh yeah?

Well I am prettier than John McCain!

Anonymous said...

SNL is no more "leftist propaganda" than it is comedy, but...that's just my opinion. And yes, Lord, Michaels has donated money to the McCain campaign and is an admitted supporter. It always amazes me how ill-informed these people are. They just come on and spew shit they've heard without investigating. For example: what EXACTLY would "leftist propaganda" consist of, given that this is a two-party system and basically adheres to the same platform (honestly now, look at what's been passed historically and you realize the parties aren't much different, despite of what they SAY they will do). A truly Left political ideology would be a Communist or Marxist agenda, and---although a lot of the "righties" accuse Obama supporters of being Commies or Socialists or (as I've recently heard and laffed about) EUROPEAN Socialists---they have not an iota of idea what Marx or Engels outlined in the Mannifesto or Das Kapital. As an immigrant from a then-Communist country, it literally makes me laugh outloud when I hear the conservative accuse the liberals of being Communists. They sound (and are) so ill-informed, that they're the political laughingstock. My suggestion would be to educate oneself on the vastly different OPERATING agendas of the Communists, and then re-vist the system we have here; or we're about to have here.

Anonymous said...

Is treasonus traitor redundant?


Ken Houghton said...

In the "we'd like to be funny, but don't pull that shit on our court and not expect to get slam-dunked," check out last night's Daily Show.

You don't fuck with a man who lives by the World Trade Center by calling him "unpatriotic" and "not a real American. At least, you don't do it.

1) When you got pregnant, so you got married,

2) When your daughter is following in your grand tradition

3) When your eldest son is a carricature for "Born in the USA ("got in a little hometown jam/So they put a rifle in my hand")

4) When you bankrupted the town of which you were mayor,

5) When you ran that town as a "values candidate" in favor of "small town values," even as the small town you run became the Crystal Meth Capitol of Alaska.


Fortunately for the U.S. websphere, Canada doesn't have access to TDS clips viewable in the States. Just have to hope someone else will post them, after which any funny shit that might have been done on SNL will have justly been forgotten.

the beige one said...

Number of issues getting in the way of what you're looking for here, Erin.

For one thing, getting Palin to agree to the material she would perform. Apparently, there were a few jokes in the cold open that were left out somewhat extemporaneously.

Also, Fey/Poehler + Palin = Don't Mix. Fey and Poehler were both pretty adamant about not wanting to spend one second in Palin's presence than was necessary (bad as comedy professionals, but as free thinking people? More power to them). By all accounts, Palin wasn't gonna give an inch on that front either.

Lastly, their material about Palin? Pretty strong and cutting. Personally, Palin's Thug Rap was hilarious and spot on. Couldn't say the same about the rest of the show.

the beige one said...

Oh, and Stephen Baldwin is the God Baldwin.

Erin O'Brien said...

Hey beige,

I know that Stephen is the God Baldwin--that would have been the joke (maybe not very funny, but like I said, it was off the cuff).

I respect your other points and I figured there was problems and politics behind the show. But it only goes to disgusts me further. This is a comedy show. If the producers/writers/actors could make it funny, shame on them.

That said, I'm sure it would be hard to turn down the ratings associated with ANY Palin appearance. I am sympathetic to that.

I do not laud Fey and Poehler as free thinkers. I've often had to work with people I find hateful and odious, but I don't let my craft suffer. Also, Obama and McCain hung up the gloves for the Smith dinner, this group should have followed suit.

Imagine had someone over at Fox said they didn't want to spend one extra moment on a stage with Obama. I'd sure have names for that person.

But I happily agree to disagree.

: )

As always, thanks for dropping in and commenting.

the beige one said...

I think the only real place where we differ in opinion is in the quality of the material...mere niggles really.