Oh for crying out loud. If you can’t make fun of this president, you should hang up your hat and go work for Everybody Loves Raymond or something. The degree of difficulty is high? Really? I mean, Sarah Palin manages it so it can’t be that hard, right?
Sheesh. As Kyle Smith wrote:
The charter Choom Ganger, confessed eater of dog and snorter of coke. The doofus who thinks the language spoken by Austrians is “Austrian,” that you pronounce the p in “corpsman” and that ATMs are the reason why job growth is sluggish. The egomaniac who gave the queen of England an iPod loaded with his own speeches and said he was better at everything than the people who work for him. The empty suit with so little real-world knowledge that he referred to his brief stint working for an ordinary profit-seeking company as time “behind enemy lines.” The phony who tells everyone he’s from Chicago, though he didn’t live there until his 20s, and lets you know that he’s talking to people he believes to be stupid by droppin’ his g’s. The world-saving Kal-El from a distant solar system who told us he’d heal the planet and cause the oceans to stop rising. The guy who shared a middle name with one of the most hated dictators on earth. Nope, nothing there to mock. No way to get a grip on this polished, oiled obsidian.
My husband and I looked at each other with confusion and disgust as the Weekend Update crowd told President Obama to cheer up and that things would get better. There were lines like, “Benghazi used to be a huge deal, now it’s just John McCain’s safe word,” and suggestions that he go on the road with the real first family, Beyonce and Jay-Z. Jost said that Bush had wrecked the economy, bombed every country with sand and that all he had to do was paint one ok picture of a dog to get back in the country’s good graces. Ha ha! All so funny and fresh!
Back in 2010, Michael J. Lewis of Commentary explored how the original Saturday Night transformed itself during its first three seasons from the politically-laced leftwing comedy of George Carlin (who hosted SNL’s very first show in October of 1975) to the much more apolitical and lighter gags of frequent host Steve Martin. As Lewis noted, this was also the transformation of the 1970s pop culture from the Watergate era and the left’s dark obsession with Nixon to the goofy apolitical, party-hearty disco Star Wars years of 1977 and ’78. This was also the era in which Robin Williams broke through to national success as a comedian, and his first album, Reality, What a Concept is remarkably politics-free. (Even his William F. Buckley impersonation on the album was pretty benign.)
A similar trend happened to the regular cast of Saturday Night Live itself, as Dan Aykroyd’s impersonation of Jimmy Carter was much sweeter and protective of Jimmy Carter’s reputation than his recurring savage Nixon impersonations or Chevy Chase’s impersonations of Gerald Ford as a clumsy, vacuous bumbler. (Not to mention the show’s admitted — and successful — efforts to demonize Ford via his press secretary, who naively volunteered to guest on the show’s first season.) By protecting Carter, Saturday Night Live accidentally allowed itself to flourish as a much more apolitical show than its first season, and Aykroyd, Belushi and Bill Murray all became superstars, as did Steve Martin during his regular guest appearances on the show, and while he never appeared on SNL during its breakthrough first five seasons, so did Williams.
But at least Jimmy Carter had his doofus brother Billy, Miss Lillian, and the family’s assortment of southern stereotypes for comedians to at least mildly goof on. In contrast, Obama has been treated with the most delicate and gossamer of kid gloves, but thanks to PC and the left’s overall descent into nagging humorless puritanical scolds, I don’t see any successors to Steve Martin, Robin Williams, Aykroyd, Belushi or Murray on the horizon anytime soon.
(Headline inspired by former Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales’ 1980 polemic against the disastrous first post-Lorne Michaels season of SNL.)