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Kyle Smith (Twitter: @rkylesmith) is critic-at-large for National Review, theater critic for The New Criterion and the author of the novels Love Monkey and A Christmas Caroline. Type a title in the box above to locate a review.

Buy Love Monkey for $4! "Hilarious"--Maslin, NY Times. "Exceedingly readable and wickedly funny romantic comedy"--S.F. Chronicle. "Loud and brash, a helluva lot of fun"--Entertainment Weekly. "Engaging romp, laugh-out-loud funny"-CNN. "Shrewd, self-deprecating, oh-so-witty. Smith's ruthless humor knows no bounds"--NPR

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    “SNL” Wastes Sarah Palin

    By kyle | October 19, 2008

    Sarah Palin, who got big laughs during her RNC speech, wasn’t funny on “Saturday Night Live.” Why? Because they didn’t give her anything funny to do. They made her stand there like a rhododendron while Alec Baldwin squinted at the cue cards. Baldwin is normally funny on the show. And he can, presumably, memorize a couple of minutes of dialogue. But why bother to do well? If he had been funny in a pro-Palin sketch (obviously she’s not going to do a sketch at her expense), people would have watched the clip millions of times. Easier to just do as badly as possible. Following this: a lame “bit” by Josh Brolin that amounted to a free ad for “W.,” complete with Oliver Stone playing an audience member who asks that the name of the film be mentioned. Brolin obliged. This show was weak sauce, either intentionally or because “SNL” writers, like David Letterman’s, can’t think of anything funny to say that has a right-leaning premise.

    Topics: Comedy, Movies, Politics, Sarah Palin, TV | 18 Comments »

    18 Responses to ““SNL” Wastes Sarah Palin”

    1. Hunter Tremayne Says:
      October 19th, 2008 at 2:21 am

      You missed the “Alaska Rap” bit during the Update where they humiliated Palin. That was good stuff.

    2. Hunter Tremayne Says:
      October 19th, 2008 at 4:35 am

      It was SO humiliating, in fact, that even Matt Drudge isn’t mentioning it.

    3. shangui Says:
      October 19th, 2008 at 8:14 am

      The “Alaska Rap” was pretty funny, and though it was certainly mocking, my guess is that it will end up working in her favor. Should get lots of Youtube, etc. action.

      I don’t think it’s the fact that the writers can’t write something funny from a right-of-center perspective (which is definitely true) that made the show unfunny, it’s that the writers can write something funny from ANY perspective. I would say this episode was on the same level as what I’ve seen from the rest of this season–almost uniformly awful from the monologue on

    4. Jules Says:
      October 19th, 2008 at 8:29 am

      There is no need to laugh WITH Paloon…

    5. Christian Toto Says:
      October 19th, 2008 at 9:32 am

      Has SNL truly mocked Obama in any meaningful way yet?

      Has anyone?

      At least Baldwin was in on the joke and could mock his own politics for a laugh. (but if you’ve got one scene, Alec, memorize your lines.

    6. shangui Says:
      October 19th, 2008 at 10:01 am

      “Has SNL truly mocked Obama in any meaningful way yet?”

      There was definitely more along these lines during the primary (and Tina Fey came out pretty strongly for Hillary). There was a skit last spring that certainly did a pretty good job of mocking the deferential treatment of Obama by the media.

      One problem is that most comedy of the SNL sort is based more on appearance, mannerisms, voice, etc., not policies or even, in many but not all cases, aspects of one’s personal life (I haven’t seen any SNL bits making fun of McCain’s very clear past as an adulterer, for example). Obama simply does not have the kind of verbal ticks or strange expressions (beyond the annoying starting a sentence with “look”) that many politicians, from Clinton and Gore to Bush and McCain have. Also, though his policies may be wrong, to say the least, he is unquestionably a very smart and articulate guy, which makes mockery more difficult. Finally, there are simply a lot of typical mockable aspects (such as his ears) that would clearly risk appearing racist and would make people uncomfortable. Compounding the latter is the fact that SNL doesn’t have a black actor at present that could do a passable impression and a white actor is sure to be a lot more careful (of course Obama is as white as he is black, but the realities of US racial perceptions mean he’s definitely black, cf. the half-Thai Tiger Woods). I’m not at all saying that political bias doesn’t come into play here, but it’s only a part. The SNL skits 8 years ago making fun of Gore’s debate performance was pretty devastating.

    7. jic Says:
      October 19th, 2008 at 10:42 am

      Has SNL truly mocked Obama in any meaningful way yet?

      Ask Treacher.

    8. Donnie Says:
      October 19th, 2008 at 11:57 am

      Because the real news this morning is Powell’s defection not Palin being lame on SNL.

    9. Jason Says:
      October 19th, 2008 at 4:55 pm

      Because the real news this morning is Powell’s defection not Palin being lame on SNL.

      Donnie… if that’s the case, then get your own blog and report it, O great arbiter of “real news.”

    10. Hunter Tremayne Says:
      October 19th, 2008 at 6:52 pm

      Some of the these right-wing bozos who have helped sink their own party won’t see the writing on the wall until George Bush himself endorses Obama.

    11. Mo Says:
      October 20th, 2008 at 10:40 am

      Isn’t obvious why Powell endorsed Obama? He even stated why. he believes in affirmative action. Liberal socialism.

      Another RiNO that has destroyed the party letting marxist democrats get control.

    12. Brandon Says:
      October 20th, 2008 at 11:27 am

      I think SNL would do anything they could to avoid making Sarah Palin appealing. It was the equivalent of a roast only none of it was meant in good fun. Kudos to her for having the guts to go do that. Obama won’t deal with any reporter whose not firmly in his pocket for fear of being asked a question let alone allow himself to be lampooned.

    13. Brandon Says:
      October 20th, 2008 at 11:31 am

      Also to the liberals on the board, Donnie specifically, is Colin Powell allowed to be black again now that he has returned to the plantation? I remember a few years ago when he agreed with President Bush liberals were saying he wasn’t even black. Furthermore I remember the great scholar Harry Belafante referring to him as a “house n****r”.

    14. John Says:
      October 20th, 2008 at 4:46 pm

      All the cast members of SNL look like they just walked off an Ivy League school.

    15. StringerB Says:
      October 20th, 2008 at 5:35 pm

      Really, John? Have you SEEN new cast member Bobby Moynihan? He’s sort of a more slovleny-looking version of Horatio Sanz (in case anyone remembers him)…

    16. Jim Treacher Says:
      October 21st, 2008 at 12:11 am

      No, not Colin Powell! All is lost!

    17. Larry Tighe Says:
      October 21st, 2008 at 2:16 pm

      SNL has sucked for over 15 years.

    18. Jules Says:
      October 21st, 2008 at 2:38 pm

      SNL has sucked for a lot longer than that, Larry. It’s the biggest load of formulaic crap to wash up on US TV. However, it did help launch John Belushi and a few others.