Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin continues to be the best thing to happen to Saturday Night Live in years. The Alaskan's natural gift of rhetoric, combined with former head writer/returning cast member Tina Fey's excellent impression has managed to make SNL really relevant again. For four weeks running now, people have been tuning in to see how Fey would skewer Palin, giving the show some of its highest ratings in years. The news cycles show clips of Fey-as-Palin at regular intervals. When the governor does grace someone (Katie Couric, for example) with her presence, the first question on everyone's mind is "This person wants to be Vice President?" And then the second is "How will SNL be making fun of this?"
Fey Does Palin (Again)
So it was again this weekend, when Fey returned to play Palin at last week's Vice Presidential debate. Jason Sudekis played her opponent, democratic nominee Joe Biden, and Queen Latifah (?) did a favor by playing moderator Gwen Ifill. Like the last three weeks, the Palin sketch kicked off the show and, like the last three weeks, was the best sketch of the night. Though they never really found a funny way to go after Biden (he likes John McCain too much?), all of Fey's stuff was great -- and, once again, not too far off from what she actually said in the debate. (Watch the video)
The Best So Far?
As for the rest of the show, it was spotty but probably the strongest show of the new season. This week's host was Anne Hathaway -- an actress I've always liked better than the movies she's in -- and the show found the right way to use her throughout the night (including having her sing, apparently, as she did in nearly every sketch). She proved incredibly game as a host, demonstrating that she's much funnier than movies like The Devil Wears Prada would have you believe. Extra credit goes to her for making jokes about her accused criminal ex-boyfriend in the monologue.
- "The Lawrence Welk Show" - SNL undercuts its new found relevance by spoofing The Lawrence Welk Showin the very next sketch following the VP debate opening. It's actually not a bad sketch -- host Hathway actually finds the funniest and most subtle character -- but hopelessly out of date. (Watch the video)
- "C-Span Bailout" - Some equal-opportunity political satire, as democrats and irresponsible citizens take the hit for the current economic crisis. Funnier as an idea than as executed, but at least the writers are aiming high. (<Watch the video)
- "Mary Poppins" - Another sketch that might be funnier in concept, but I think it's one of the better sketches of the season. The Mary Poppins takeoff explores the meaning behind "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious." Hint -- it's an STD. Hathway is funny again, as is Bill Hader's Dick Van Dyke. (Watch the video)
- "Mark Wahlberg Talks to Animals" - This is kind of a one-joke sketch (though it does get funnier the more it repeats itself). It's worth watching for Andy Samberg's very funny and perceptive Mark Wahlberg impression, which seems like it would be hard to make funny. Another sketch I really liked. (Watch the video)
A lot of funny stuff this week, hopefully giving SNL some strong momentum as it heads into the first of its two live broadcasts this week -- the premiere of Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday.
PS - The Killers played their decent new single, "Human," finally having the courage to ask "Are we human or are we dancer?" That's a decision I resent having to make.
- Original Air Date: 10/4/08
- Host: Anne Hathaway
- Musical Guest: The Killers