Peanut Butter Knife

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Ohio Primary, Some Observations

I don't want to wade too deeply into the divisiveness of yesterday's results. Needless to say, I'm disappointed in how things turned out.

I do want to comment though on one strain of thought I've seen bubbling in the media this week: The idea that SNL's pro-Hillary sketches the past few weeks played a part in her comeback. And while any effect it may have actually had is probably being overblown, what troubles me is from the standpoint of a comedy fan who has watched SNL since I was old enough to stay up that late, anything that gives Lorne Michaels the impression that his woefully unfunny show has any continuing relevance is a bad thing. I sat through last week's episode for the Wilco performance, yet I let out one guffaw the entire night. In the final sketch, Ellen Page made a joke about going to a Melissa Etheridge concert where Suze Orman had a booth to educate people on "gay mortgages". Yeah, that was the funniest thing I heard.

"Weekend Update" has become a tedious bore of poorly read one-liners. I might not like the guy's politics these days, but in the 80s at least Dennis Miller brought a much needed sense of irreverence to the proceedings. "The Daily Show", "The Colbert Report" and The Onion have been running circles around SNL in terms of political satire for nearly a decade now (well, Colbert for only 3 years, but the fact that TDS has itself already started to become eclipsed is even more of an indictment of SNL).

I realize the traditional media press corps doesn't quite get Colbert, and they are disdainful of Stewart for so effectively pointing out their asshattery, but please do comedy a favor and don't give SNL any more credence than it deserves. That show needs to be put out of its misery, or at least taken over by someone who actually understands how to do smart, yet gut busting comedy.

Then again, maybe I'm just as much a part of the problem. I'll DVR next week's ep to see Vampire Weekend.

As a post-script, I'd like to single out Tina Fey, who is a genuinely funny woman and as a one time head writer kept the SNL franchise from heading entirely over the cliff for much of the early part of this decade. "30 Rock" is a great show, but if you've paid close attention to the political aspects of the show, there's been a strong anti-Obama (and somewhat anti-Dem) agenda set forth. In one episode, Liz Lemon tells Jason Sudekis' character that "she'll tell everyone she's voting for Obama, but when she gets in the voting booth she'll pull the lever for McCain". In another episode an entire b-plot revolved around one of the characters referring to Obama as "Osama".