Saturday Night Barely Alive

Not surprisingly, Tina Fey returned to the opener of “Saturday Night Live” to portray her look-alike inner child Sarah Palin. Nothing special here, except the almost creepy resemblance. Like Palin, she didn’t offer anything new. Michael Phelps — who, in case you’ve been living in an underwater cave for the summer, won 700 gold medals in swimming at the Olympics — was a dud as guest host. Most of the sketches fell flat — as they often do, they start out with a funny premise, but can’t come through with a big finish. The best part, as usual, was “Weekend Update,” which works because they’re one-liners on what’s topical. One unknown supporting cast member did have his moments portraying the annoying comic strip character “Cathy.”

“SNL” long ago should’ve gone to an hour format instead of 90 minutes. After “Weekend Update” it’s normally all downhill — especially the last half-hour, which is a tortuous as having to sit through auditions for high school variety shows.

Barack Obama was supposed to make a guest appearance on the opener, but bowed out due to the aftermath destruction of Hurricane Ike. Just as well, the season opener of “SNL’ was a disaster in itself.

THE JOKERS ARE WILD

If which political party’s ticket gets the most running gags from late night and cable comics is any barometer as to who will win, then it’s McPalin in a landslide. Jokes about McCain’s age are about as long as he is in the tooth. Palin’s wilderness woman caught on immediately with comics. But there’s nothing funny about Obama. Bad omen. He’s got to do something outrageous or the jokes won’t start until after he loses. Trust me, if that happens, comics will be relentless.

KEEP COOL

Last week at the presidential candidates forum on service to the U.S. of A, Obama said he wanted to make politics cool again. There you go — sounds like a good campaign slogan: Barack Obama, making government cool again. Play up that cool persona. It’s got to be better than what’s supposed to be working now.

LET OUR WOMAN GO

GOP surrogates moved faster than a lobbyist to an earmark in their defense of Palin’s interview with ABC’s Charlie Gibson. One even said Gibson peered down at her like a leacherous college professor “which could make anybody nervous.” Huh? What kind of VP would be effective if Charlie Gibson made him or her nervous? Now Larry King is another story. He looks like he wants to drain your blood. Cheney would’ve chewed Gibson’s face off (if he didn’t have his shotgun.) But Sarah Baracuda left it to her messenger killers to get her off the hook.

If women are ready to assume the presidency, politicians and the news media have got to stop treating them like they were sympathetic characters because their judgment is challenged. In any event, the nation’s love affair with Sarah continues, and the media’s honeymoon isn’t over. If McPalin wins, let’s hope they don’t do to us what’s done on honeymoons.

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