October 11, 2009

Does SNL really deserve attention for poking fun at Barack Obama?

Is it that they're doing it at all? Because they are not doing it well! Was there any new or interesting observation in this? The writing is terribly dull. I won't listen again to get the quote exactly right, but — after saying he got the Nobel Prize for not being George Bush — he says something like "I've only not been George Bush for 9 months." But he's not a 9-month-old and he's never been George Bush. Couldn't you polish that into something like "I've only been President Not George Bush for 9 months"?

And could SNL hire somebody who can actually impersonate Barack Obama? Obama has so many physical and vocal mannerisms. It could be hilarious. And it's not like when Chevy Chase played Gerald Ford without any attempt at seeming like Ford, because Chevy Chase had a very appealing and funny personal style of his own and imitating without imitating was itself ridiculous. Fred Armisen isn't doing anything.

"Saturday Night Live" is boring and lame. Giving them credit for willingness to make fun of a liberal is like giving the Nobel Prize to Obama for not being Bush. Except much duller.

75 comments:

Peter V. Bella said...

SNL has been boring and lame for years. Oh, once in a while they run a good streak, but overall it's time has come. Time to turn out the lights.

HokiePundit said...

I disagree. SNL should be given a Nobel Prize for Literature for that skit.

Fred4Pres said...

SNL is almost always borning and lame, with occasional humor. I got bored very quickly and after the opening did not make it to Weekend Update. Zzzzzz.

Fred4Pres said...

HokiePundit, you deserve a Nobel for that comment! Bravo.

c3 said...

Imitation is not Fred's strong-suit. But the greater phenomenon is the "collective sigh of relief" that SNL has figured out some way to lampoon BO. phew!! Our political proclivities were painfully obvious until now.

And along those lines I found it interesting that the "not George Bush" line got more applause than laughs. Yes, that is why we like you!

Similarly, the lines about his economic advisors fell flat. What!? Did I miss something?

Michael Hasenstab said...

"Saturday Night Live" is boring and lame. Giving them credit for willingness to make fun of a liberal is like giving the Nobel Prize to Obama for not being Bush. Except much duller.

That's better writing than anything on SNL.

Jason (the commenter) said...

At some point it stopped being about being funny and started being about saying snarky things partisans would clap at.

They should clear out all their writers, none of them knows humor anymore; and if they ever did they've forgotten it.

Ron said...

I'm funnier in a coma than the SNL writers.

Dark Eden said...

Yes they're getting credit simply for making fun of Obama. Its the ultimate modern comedic taboo apparently. They're sort of having the same problem the MSM is having though. Main Stream Comedy is loathe to poke fun at Obama, but the internet is awash in Obama jokes, and they're better and funnier than anything the cowards in the MSC are willing to even attempt.

Seneca the Younger said...

The wonder of a dancing bear is not how well it dances.

bearbee said...

SND = Sat Nite Dead

wv - ressu: urgent need of mouth to mouth

rcocean said...

This is what you get when you kick out all "Creative minds" because of "puritanical" sex laws.

Could we give them an Emmy now - just to encourage them?

L. E. Lee said...

SNL almost single handedly help Sarah Palin marginalize herself. You have to give them credit for that! Did any other non-news show have as much influence last year?

Fred4Pres said...

Wow, Al "Mr. Freeze" Gore causes dropping temperature every time he gives a talk on global warming (a real dog bites man story), but hell also froze over last night! Little Tommy Friedman is just full of surprises isn't he?

miller said...

it wasn't as funny as last week - but still, it shows that there are *some* signs of life in the media that they can - GASP! - make fun of the Boy President.

master cylinder said...

SNL and Daily Show routinely savage Obama, so how
Is "MSC" cowardly? This is how the game is played people-corporate media including Comedy Central and NBC- whom I would call mainstream, have an interest in keeping our 2 party system look like a never ending horserace. This way we can keep betting on it and not get any real work done.

Joe said...

Entirely unfunny and it's rather lame that the ever so mockable Obama is "imitated" by simply having a slim black man claim to be Obama.

Gary said...

Could it be that the unfunny jokes and lame impersonation is intentional? They may be sending the message of...

"See? We tried! But there's no comedic material to be mined here. We know that and you should know that. He's our Ghandi. America should be a guffaw-free zone when it comes to such an historical figure."

I'm not laughing.

TmjUtah said...

You won't find an able or effective impersonation of The Won because an actor in Hollywood knows that while you can stand up for pedophile rapists and death row cop killers six days a week and twice on Sundays, there are some lines you just don't cross.

Pat said...

When I saw it, I thought, this is the referee make-up call for last week. Too tough on him last week, so lets appease our liberal viewers and slam Bush.

salvage said...

>"Saturday Night Live" is boring and lame.

Very true. True since the late 80's.

And yet you are home each Saturday night watching it, your sixth glass of wine clutched in your wrinkling hand as you slowly bore away the precious gift of life on mediocrity.

But at least you have an audience to entertain as you do!

L. E. Lee said...

It doesn't take much to entertain the Althouse Hillbillies. Just a few pokes and they will get off the porch.

edutcher said...

I thought it was sacrilegious to mock the Messiah. All the comics said so!

Dark Eden said...

>>>SNL and Daily Show routinely savage Obama, so how Is "MSC" cowardly?<<<

The Daily Show does attack Obama regularly... for not being left wing enough. Granted! However can you please link me to any other SNL bit where Obama is the butt of the joke? Any other mainstream anything where Obama is the butt of the joke?

Floyd said...

Ah, the ultimate sin in the Althouse world: being dull.

Odd, though, how throwing red meat to the ring wing is never considered dull or boring -- at least around here.

Althouse: your reaction to the Nobel Prize was predictable, boring, AND dull.

LL said...

How lame is it that most comedians stated that it was sooo difficult to make fun of Obama and therefore they just didn't? At least I give SNL (which is has really never been that funny) kudos for at least trying.

Rialby said...

What impact do you think this lack of satire towards Obama has on the youth? When I was a kid, Reagan, HW Bush and Carter were skewered relentlessly. I was a young Republican but loved the Phil Hartman Reagan and the Dana Carvey Bush.

I was at a public event the other day and the person speaking made mention of "being haunted" and I turned and cracked to a fellow winger, "the only thing that haunts me is a 2nd Obama term". In front of me at the time was a black, female high school student. She turned around and gave me a look like I had threatened her parents with death.

I wanted to say, he ain't your president not to make fun of. He's our president to ridicule just as we've relentlessly ridiculed every previous leader.

AJ Lynch said...

I stayed thru the 2nd skit which was horribly unfunny. The show is unwatcheable.

Haha, my wv =cones! So I say bring back the Coneheads!

Rialby said...

Funniest thing I've seen about Obama here.

Jen Bradford said...

I remember him trying harder at mimicking Obama's delivery during the debate skits. Now it seems like he knows the material sucks, and can't be bothered.

bagoh20 said...

Yea, I don't get how those writers keep their jobs. I think the average person could write better jokes. They sat around and convinced each other that was funny stuff. Most comedy writers could come up with better stuff right off the cuff.

The entire world seems to have decided that even mediocrity is a bar too high.

kristinintexas said...

This guy does a really good impersonation of, uuh, Obama. I wouldn't say he's actually making fun of him though. It'd be nice to see his skill put together with writing by someone who doesn't consider the Obama presidency to be some kind of sacred cow.

Shanna said...

And yet you are home each Saturday night watching it

What a quaint idea that you have to sit home and watch anything live these days. It's called the internet, you're on it.

I actually tried to watch an episode of Saturday night Live this last election season but I couldn't do it, even ffwding through most of it was too boring.

I did just watch that skit and every writer on it should be fired. As should Fred. I feel pretty confident a four year old could do a better/funnier impersonation. And "jokes" should get laughter not claps. If someone is clapping at your joke, it wasn't funny.

Alex said...

We're getting some new paid astroturf trolls the last few days. First danielle, now Foyd.

bearbee said...

Althouse: your reaction to the Nobel Prize was predictable, boring, AND dull.

Oh no.... not DULL!

Ooh....ouch!

I'll bet that must have really hurt....eh, Althouse?

Freeman Hunt said...

MadTV spoofed him from the beginning. MadTV has also been exceptionally funny for the last few years. What did they get for it? Almost no marketing for their show.

The entertainment business is horrendously partisan. Hopefully that will change and we'll start rewarding great art and comedy again.

Freeman Hunt said...

Jordan Peele does a spot on imitation of Obama. Keegan-Michael Key is also very funny in the Obama role.

Of course, maybe that's not fair since the worst cast member of MadTV was doing work at least as good as the best cast member of SNL.

I get annoyed when bad art is overpraised and excellent art is under praised. Thus, the dispartiy of attention given SNL versus MadTV annoys the hell out me.

It's like when Crash won Best Picture over Brokeback Mountain.

CarmelaMotto said...

kristinintexas - that "alphacat" impersonation you posted was spot on. I love all of the "let me be clear" moments. Fred Armison should take notice. Obama's orations are predictable, and therefore, not hard to impersonate.

prairie wind said...

Like Joe said, "Entirely unfunny and it's rather lame that the ever so mockable Obama is "imitated" by simply having a slim black man claim to be Obama."

I laughed all day yesterday about the Nobel Peace Prize and I wasn't the only one in the office chuckling. SNL would have gotten more laughs by simply replaying the Nobel announcement.

Kensington said...

Freeman Hunt said:
"MadTV spoofed him from the beginning. MadTV has also been exceptionally funny for the last few years. What did they get for it? Almost no marketing for their show."

And now they're gone and no longer a viable source of Obama jokes. It's a real shame, because you're right: it was a pretty good show, much better than SNL.

On a side note, where are the intelligent liberal commenters? Lately I'm only seeing vicious trolls.

Seneca the Younger said...

SNL almost single handedly help Sarah Palin marginalize herself.

After which, she more or less single-handedly derailed the health care debate.

Father Martin Fox said...

Even a number of pro-Obama members of the commentariat were embarrassed over the Nobel Prize award and said so.

It is even more embarrassing that those whose jobs are to mock the powerful are afraid of, or utterly uninterested in, doing their jobs.

The embargo won't last. SNL and others who would usually feast on the foibles and mistakes of the President, probably will continue to handle the matter delicately, but others will step forward.

And it'll be fun to see them get punked the same way the legacy media were over some of the administration's embarrassing nominees, and ACORN.

Freeman Hunt said...

Jordan Peele as Obama here and here. Keegan-Michael Key as Obama here, here, and here (first part).

MadTV spoof of that Will I Am "Yes We Can" video here.

And there's this for overtly sexualized versions of Obama and Hillary Clinton. Heh.

Methadras said...

"Saturday Night Live" is boring and lame. Giving them credit for willingness to make fun of a liberal is like giving the Nobel Prize to Obama for not being Bush. Except much duller.

Oh, feel the burn...

From Inwood said...

C'mon; it's hard for SNL or anyone to be funny in an attempted parody when Obama's acknowledgement of the award seems like one of those "The Onion" pieces & his actual narcissistic faux creative speeches in front of faux Palladian architecture seem like childish parodies which would be rejected on the Classic SNL.

So I agree with the brilliant mot of HokiePundit @10:51.

Paco Wové said...

"We're getting some new paid astroturf trolls the last few days."

"Floyd" isn't a new troll. Floyd is just the newest sockpuppet for AJD, the Ur-troll of Althouse, who has been spitting from the his urine-soaked puddle in the gutter for many years now.

EDH said...

Seneca the Younger said...
SNL almost single handedly help Sarah Palin marginalize herself.

After which, she more or less single-handedly derailed the health care debate.


And she's single-handedly taking care of bad late night sketch comedy.

Issob Morocco said...

Your assessment of SNL's Armisen is the bomb to the target. He seems like he is being forced to do it so he does it poorly to show he is not really meaning to diss Obama.

And the jokes he tells are like bread left out for four days, dry, not palatable and crumby.

Rush Limbaugh does a much better impersonation than Armisen.

Cheers!

Kirby Olson said...

The left would shut the show down if they ever actually hit their target.

This morning there was a kerfuffle on CNN about how Fox News had to be shut down because it's now "an arm of the GOP." As it was put.

What about MSNBC and also National Public Radio? Has anyone noticed?

What about our universities in which the faculty is almost invariably to the far left. More communists on campuses than even in unions any longer.

The government is very irritated that there's still one channel that doesn't cheerlead every mindless move they make.

former law student said...

it's rather lame that the ever so mockable Obama is "imitated" by simply having a slim black man claim to be Obama.

More of an accomplishment than you think -- step 1 is pretending that you are a slim black man.

Armisen's mother is Venezuelan and his father is German and Japanese, making Armisen SNL's second Asian-American cast member (after Rob Schneider, who is part Filipino) as well as the second Hispanic-American cast member (after Horatio Sanz, who is Chilean-American).

(from wikipedia)

Iapetus said...

"Fred Armisen isn't doing anything." Isn't that the whole point of the skit?

fls: Thanks for the info. It fits what I was going to write, which is that we have a Hispanic-Asian doing an impression of a white man impersonating a black man. Sounds racist to me.

wv: ovelmals - Hangover from sipping bad Oveltine

From Inwood said...

Say, did you know that the Nobel Peace Prize Committee's stated reason for giving the Prize to the One was written by Watts E. Dunn?

http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2009/press.html

OK, old joke recast.

Fred4Pres said...

And yet you are home each Saturday night watching [SNL], your sixth glass of wine clutched in your wrinkling hand as you slowly bore away the precious gift of life on mediocrity.

Holy moley, do you have cameras in my house! How did you do that?

traditionalguy said...

I declare SNL a de facto racist organisation. We have come so far in anointing a real Black Prince to rule over us, and then SNL pulls a stunt like this.The only question is what does FOX NEWS know about this deliberate red-neck racist hit piece and when did they know it? I predict that we will find that this all comes from Glenn Beck's brain waves that went thru the SNL studio's walls.

Jeremy said...

Gee, Ann...maybe if you called SNL they'd let you advise or even re-write their material.

This is just another example of Ann feeding the wing nuts what they want to hear.

Jeremy said...

traditional asshole - "We have come so far in anointing a real Black Prince to rule over us..."

Now, that's racist.

Revenant said...

Giving them credit for willingness to make fun of a liberal is like giving the Nobel Prize to Obama for not being Bush. Except much duller.

And not nearly as hilarious.

traditionalguy said...

Jeremy...Not so fast. That comment was a satire on the attitude of the Left wing wackos to any criticism of the President. I personally believe Obama's skin color should be irrelevent. As one asshole to another, try to keep up, so we can drink a beer together in perfect harmony.

MadisonMan said...

I watched a little of Weekend Update with my daughter. I didn't laugh and neither did she. I thought the parallels between Obama winning prematurely and the other prizes were okay, but I expect better.

The James Carville imitation was dreadful. I left when Scrooge McDuck came on (shudder)

JAL said...

Like MM -- I watched a little of the Weekend Update. Yeah, they did a skit about the news event of the Nobel Obama Prize. It struck me as an attempt to be funny, but with effort.

What was gratuitous and unfunny was the inclusion of a quote from Michael Steele -- with picture (was that racist?) and a snark about how he wouldn't have his job (Chairman of the RNC) except for Obama. Ha ha.

I'm sure it made the leftists smile with satisaction.

Only it wasn't correct.

While Barack Obama was mucking around in the Illinois State Senate (and where are his Senate notes?), Michael Steele had run, won, and was serving as Lt. Governor of Maryland. He even did some things of note while in that office.

Prior to that he was chairman of the Maryland Republican Party. (And Barack was doing what in 2002?)

Then there was the little matter during Steele's 2006 Senate run of the staff at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (Chairman -- Sen. Chuck Schumer) who fraudulently accessed Michael Steeles' credit information using his SSN and a created false email address in 2005. Steele lost, but after that became Chairman of GOPAC until he was elected RNC Chairman.

So the left jokers should save the patronizing for the man who did nothing, not the guy who did it without Barack's "help."

The laughs are there, guys.

wv NOP (pronounced "nope")
Not really.

traditionalguy said...

Just in...Barak Obama has unanimously won the 2009 Heisman Trophy for over 3,000 yards rushing that he hoping to run.

Penny said...

"Does SNL really deserve attention for poking fun at Barack Obama?"

Of course!

We're doing the LIMBO!

And how low can YOU go?

former law student said...

While Barack Obama was mucking around in the Illinois State Senate (and where are his Senate notes?), Michael Steele had run, won, and was serving as Lt. Governor of Maryland

while Michael Steele was mucking around as Lt. Governor of Maryland, Barack Obama had run, won, and was serving as United States Senator -- an office to which Steele aspired but could not win. Obama's won 5 of 6 elections (losing only to ex-Panther Bobby Rush) while Steele is one for two.

Revenant said...

What was gratuitous and unfunny was the inclusion of a quote from Michael Steele -- with picture (was that racist?) and a snark about how he wouldn't have his job (Chairman of the RNC) except for Obama. Ha ha.

Steele was chosen for a reason similar to the reason Kennedy tapped LBJ to be his vice president: to shore up a weakness. It doesn't mean Steele is unqualified. But he almost certainly wouldn't have been picked if he was white, just like LBJ almost certainly wouldn't have been picked if he was from Massachusetts instead of Texas.

So, yes, Steele was chosen because of Obama. His race is a political asset the other candidates lacked.

rrfrank2254 said...

I'm dating myself, but I miss Admiral Stockdale!

Barlycorn, John said...

Admiral Stockdale? I am dating myself with this reply, "you mean Admiral Boom?"

Salamandyr said...

While it's nice that comedians are finally getting over their initial awe of the man, I don't have much else to say about the quality of the jokes.

To the extent that they attack him, they attack him from the left. They're making jokes because he's not as dreamy a liberal savior as they thought he would be.

Do we really want to laugh at Obama for screwing up "healthcare reform"? Me, I want to thank him!

Dewave said...

It's about being willing to make joke's at Obama's expense at all. Yes, they are of sub-par quality, and always come from the perspective of deeming Obama to be insufficiently to the left, but it's progress, of a sort.

Certainly a welcome change from media institutions suffering from the Chris Matthews effect and being unable to countenance criticism of Obama, lest it interfere with their mission to help him succeed. One can't help but feel a bit of hope when a media institution indicates it may be something other than the official mouthpiece and propoganda mill for the Obama administration.

Jim O said...

I haven't had time to read all of the comments, so excuse me if I appear to be plaigarizing somebody above. Please note that SNL is attacking (well, gently ribbing) Obama from the left. The kernel of truth upon which their humor (or the attempt at it) is based is that they are diappointed in his willingness to aggressively impose the leftist agenda they expected from him. If Gitmo were closed by now, if gays were serving openly in combat units, and if the precursor to single payer had been enacted already, you wouldn't be hearing a peep from SNL.

Darren Duvall said...

When something patently idiotic occurs, the court jester is duty-bound to comment upon it lest he lose his job.

The writers at SNL have to comment on things lest they look incompetent. I think they'd rather look slightly ideologically-suspect than incompetent. Their comments do come from the left, the bit last week at the open was a recitation of Obama's unfinished work from the perspective of a leftist (jab) to make right-wingers look foolish for saying the country is turning to the left (cross). Equal time, of a sort.

Seth Meyers' comment about the Nobel Peace Prize being a "call to action", after which he said, "The election was also supposed to be a call to action." is a shot from the left, not the right.

SNL is not half as funny as things I read on the internet about the Peace Prize just half a day after the announcement. They don't go after him with enthusiasm the way they did with Palin -- they write jokes, but their heart is not in it and it shows.

Ken Begg said...

You guys aren't giving Seth Meyers credit for an actually funny shot at Obama. Quoting the President's reflections that the Nobel award represented "a wake-up call," Meyers added (words to this effect), "By the way, Mr. President, so was the election."

Tim said...

The last SNL skit was lame and not funny. The previous skit about Obama, his checklist about not accomplishing anything, was an attack from the LEFT WING.

JAL said...

FLS - Nice deflection.

My point, which it seems you missed, was that Michael Steele had a public service personna before Barack Obama couldn't get into the DNC convention in LA.

He was elected / appointed the head of chair of the MD Republican Party in 2000.

Obama was an Illinois State Senator (loved the way he got Alice Palmer knocked off the primary ballot. Cool, huh!) while Steele ran for and won Lt. Governor of MD. That had nothing to do with Obama. Nor did any of his previous accomplishments.

(And where are Obama's State Senate records again?)

I believe I mentioned Steele lost in 2006.

My point was Steele existed as a Republican figure of note before Obama's presidency supposedly gave validation to every American with an African heritage. (Please adjust your bios, Clarence and Colin and Condoleezza.)

Winning the RNC chairmanship (which was close and actually included another black American) was a 'damned if you do damned if you don't' situation. If Steele won (having served as both an elected official and a state RNC chairman as well as holding a significant office with GOPAC) it was obviously because of his skin, if Katon Dawson from South Carolina (!!!) won it was because Republicans are racists who want to return to segregation.

I am not a Steele devotee, I just think the disinformation slipped in by SNL (Fey/"Palin" can see Russia from her porch. Ha ha.) is -- well -- deliberate -- but also done by people who actually seem to believe it's true.

As seen from the 'Palin' porch line -- many people then believed it. (Remember the post election interviews that were done? Oh. No. Wait. You probably missed those.)

Steele is well educated and has served in the trenches. On his record, he doesn't owe Obama anything.

Daniel Frank said...

And along those lines I found it interesting that the "not George Bush" line got more applause than laughs.

That's a well-known phenomenon among any sort of topical humor. Laughter is involuntary; applause isn't. So if an unfunny joke with a politically correct viewpoint is told, it gets applause so the audience can show that they share these politically correct viewpoints.

Tina Fey called it "claptor".

VoiceOfReezon said...

Gee, when SNL was making fun of Sarah Palin, the ratings were up and everyone laughed! Suddenly people who support Obama and his policies are upset because SNL is poking fun at our President? I don't get it.