Article by Bea Scott
With a bevy of new shows and returning favorites, I’d have to say SNL is really something I look forward to. Aside from the gags, the skits and the musical guests, what really gets me rolling on the floor, hysterically laughing are the political impersonations.
Add that to the fact that they satirize my current favorite reality TV show, the US elections and you’re guaranteed that Saturdays at home won’t necessarily be something to NOT-look forward to.
Is it wrong if they do political impersonations? I think not — SNL writers are hip, savvy and always timely, plus, jokes are half-truths — they parodied that half and added the other half, intelligently, of course, to the mix. Besides, if you were looking for the issues, digging deeper, etc — why were you looking at a comedy show?
Here’s a little rundown of my favorite SNL political impersonations:
Darrel Hammond as Bill Clinton – Clinton may not be the big chief in these elections, but he’s still certainly BIG. What’s not to like about Bill? I do think he’s certainly a character, Darrel Hammond does a fine job of copying the best (the funny!) parts of Clinton, plus, of course, he gave Hillary her last name. Plus, he’s also the most parodied surviving president in SNL, with a whopping 67 appearances by Hammond and another 20 by several other previous SNL cast members.
Darrel Hammond as John McCain – Okay, so maybe I did just mention Darrel Hammond — but his 14th season in SNL is looking to be another busy one, as he’s set to do McCain. As we witnessed last Saturday, he brings on the laugh in the faux debate, capturing the essence and spirit of that serious event and transforming it into something we can readily consume. (Plus, we can all remember that McCain did a cameo appearance on Weekend Update, joking about his age.)
Fred Armisen as Barack Obama – From what I’ve read, Armisen coached McCain in his opening monologue for that Weekend Update appearance — and we all know that brought in the laughs. Appearing in dark makeup, he does his best to carry on the charismatic power of Obama and making it funny.
Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton – We’ve already mentioned Bill — here’s Hillary’s turn. Poehler has this huge arsenal of characters in SNL, one of those just happens to be Hillary. There’s this funny bit in this season’s premiere where she (as Hillary) was to deliver a “Nonpartisan message” with Sarah Palin; where Palin was going to mention that both she and Hillary don’t agree on “some things” where Poehler cuts in, and blurts out “anything.”
Which, of course leads to my favorite political impersonation on SNL:
Tina Fey as Sarah Palin – From McCain’s announcement, there have been observations on the resemblance — it’s actually pretty far-fetched if you look at ‘em side-by-side. It must’ve been the glasses. In this year’s season premiere, a full week before it was aired, there’ve been speculations about Fey coming back to SNL temporarily to play Sarah Palin, and then one Saturday evening, it really happened. She recently reprised the character again, this time, being interviewed by Katie Couric, played by Amy Poehler — where they discussed how, when Palin is being backed into a corner she becomes even more adorable — expertly called out by Fey and the glasses.
Bea Scott is in love with life and secretly dreams of traveling to Hawaii and wear a pink grass skirt! Her current crusade is about fossil fuels, bugging officemates and friends to save gas and use biodiesel. Read more from her blog at HelloWorldBea.
She also frequents political site, The Jabber.