Sunday, September 21, 2008

Funny, “Saturday Night Live” No Longer So Funny

--Richard E. Vatz

“Saturday Night Live” (SNL) presents itself as a comedy show with a significant amount of political satire. It is becoming instead a show for advancing a specific political agenda with a bit of general satire.

September 20’s SNL is yet another illustration of what happens when a comedy show views itself as having an important political goal which trumps the importance of being funny and clever – in this case, the goal of electing a particular presidential ticket, the Democratic ticket.

A less-than-funny skit by SNL standards began the evening, “mocking,” in the language of the liberal “Huffington Post,” John McCain for running false ads against Barack Obama and having no compunction in doing so.

Arianna Huffington’s blog also reveals that the idea for the heavy-handed sketch was that of Al Franken, now running for Senate in Minnesota and an ex-comedian and writer for the show. Franken is as partisan a Democrat as exists in show business and politics.

For several weeks straight on SNL all of the presidential barbs and satire have been against McCain with none – zero – against Obama.

SNL became Hillary Clinton’s unpaid aide earlier this year when SNL’s writers, producers, directors and cast decided that the media were blatantly opposed to her and treated her with more scrutiny and harsh inquisitive techniques that they did Barack Obama, and in fact were giving him a “free ride.” For weeks SNL’s satire hit those points harder and harder until much of the mainstream media came around and asked Sen. Obama some slightly tougher questions and treated the two more even-handedly.

In 2004 SNL had much more satire opposing President George W. Bush and favoring Sen. John Kerry than the reverse, but at least Seth Meyers did a clever, dead-on impression of Sen. Kerry and satirized his flip-flopping excellently.

The show is in danger of becoming more and more a partisan left-wing vehicle, supporting blatantly the Democratic presidential ticket and sacrificing cleverness and wit in the process.

One can only hope that Saturday Night Live reverses its present course and becomes a politically funny, mostly non-partisan, show again. In the meantime let’s at least ensure that the public becomes aware of what the show has become.

Professor Vatz teaches political rhetoric at Towson University


Prof. FuzzyWuzzy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Obama is ahead said...

flip flopping is what Mccain is doing,

Anonymous said...

You wrote: One can only hope that Saturday Night Live reverses its present course and becomes a politically funny, mostly non-partisan, show again. In the meantime let’s at least ensure that the public becomes aware of what the show has become.
Seriously? I think most people understand that SNL is not an impartial observer nor need it be - it's not claiming to report news but rather providing their observations on current events.

Anonymous said...

They used to spoof both candidates pretty much equally, which is what made them must-watch TV during an election. I miss those days. Oh well.

Gunpowder Chronicler said...

Dr Vatz,

With all due respect... where have you been? Saturday Night Live has always been extremely biased towards the "left" and against the "right". It is nothing new.

The entire, overpowering stereotype of Gerald R. Ford as a stumbling clutz is due in large part to one man: Chevy Chase.

That is going on 30 years now.

The difference is that the humor at one time was clever and witty -- think Dana Carvey's George H. W. Bush. Or Chris Farley's version of Howell Heflin during the Thomas hearings (when I was at Towson State University, btw).

But its been a long time since "clever" and "witty" could faithfully be used in the same sentence with "Lorne Michaels" or "Saturday Night Live".

Victor Pinhead said...

saturday night live is a comedy show.

fox News is laughable.

see the difference ?

Daniel said...

Such wit and charm coming here from the other side.

Sharp, you are.

Mind you don't cut yourself, pinhead.

Dr. Internet said...

The Palin-Clinton piece was very well done. It took shots at Palin, but also deep shots at the Dems for how they treat strong women candidates from either party. And the faux Clinton line to the Democratic party "since you don't have a pair, you can borrow mine" was not meant to be a slam at her, but at Obama.

Maybe Dr. Vatz went to bed early in the late 1990s when every episode opened with a Monica Lewinsky sketch.

Like most shows if its ilk, SNL is anti-whoever is in power.

A Life Well Lived said...

The 1990's?

SNL still does that skit in various forms.

Fake outrage from the fraudulently offended is almost as funny.

Trying to effect a distraction is not a campaign. It's an attempt to fool people.

Satire and spoof is a natural part of politics - unless it's your guy getting hit in the gut a little.

What's the matter Rick? The piece was offensive, I will grant you that. So what? Loosing your sense of humor or at least your sense of understanding humor?

Maybe you prefer censorship?

Mister D. said...

A Life Well Lived-

"Satire and spoof".

Just like your posts.