No laughing matter

Note to “Saturday Night Live”: The Joe Biden impersonation isn’t working because it isn’t funny. Last night the opening of “SNL” tried to get their fans hooked on the Biden as gaffer sketch, but it only proved to show how much we’re going to miss Sarah Palin and Tina Fey’s dead-on impression. The skit only set the tone for what was to follow: easily the worst “SNL” of the year — and maybe the lamest in years.

Last night’s show was an homage to everything gay. Not that there’s anything wrong with that — but it was overdone and often times uncomfortable. There’s a difference between humor that pushes the envelope and comedy intended to make the audience uncomfortable: the latter is being a slave to lazy writing because it’s easy to create sketches based on what’s trendy. As with most network comedy shows, gay is viewed as fashionable and therefore liberties are taken to exploit it. But enough already: The first half hour of “SNL” was overkill. There was a sketch that went on too long that had men literally sucking face. That was quickly followed by a skit about men (as teenage boys) being scared straight by a convict who had a laundry list of unfunny sodomy jokes. That was soon followed by a sketch where four guys in a car were relating to what the Ricky Nelson’s song “Garden Party” meant to them — and each one had something gay-related to say about it — including one punch line from a guy who was “uncomfortable with another man’s urine in my mouth” and another guy saying that he couldn’t remember where his vibrating cell phone was. Guess where?

Actor Paul Rudd was the host. He seems to be making a career appearing in many of the slew of “butt buddy” comedies that have been, ah, thrust onto the movie-going public. Noticeably absent from the show last night were — women. Which made it easier to continue what has been a trend on TV in the last few years — men sexually harassing each other. “SNL” is much funnier if it has a political agenda to mock. Even on its “Weekend Update” edition last night, one cast member — who was either too convincing because he, uh, pulled it off, or because it wasn’t much of a stretch for him — played Snaggle-Puss, a gay cartoon character. And faster than you can say Liza Minnelli, a sketch with Beyonce was also homoerotic. Two male cast members and Justin Timberlake were — get this — gay dancers, complete with high heels, who were supposed to be the singer’s back-up dancers in her next video. Beyonce was under-used — kind of like, pardon the expression, the straight man. But she did utter the phrase late in the sketch that pretty much summed up not only the routine she was part of, but the entire show when she said: “Can we stop please.”

“SNL” used to be a trailblazer of edgy material. It’s now just trendy — and beginning to show that, through shows like last night’s, there’s no humor in tolerance. “SNL” has joined the cast of must-miss TV that may as well be a live-action version of “Beavis and Butt-head.” The show can take some solace in that — it would mean it has box-office appeal.

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One Response to No laughing matter

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