Obama Presidency bodes ill for SNL

February 3, 2009

As a McCain supporter, I can’t help but feel this nation will gain yet another crisis under an Obama presidency. No massive breadl ines will occur due to another Great Depression, but certainly a recession of presidential comedy sketches will arise.

Perhaps President Bush’s greatest legacy is that he provided solid material for comedians and sketch comedy shows during his eight years in office. I am going to deeply miss David Letterman’s “Great Moments in Presidential Speeches.” President Bush was not a master of the English language. Love him or hate him, public speaking was not his gift. Obama doesn’t have this problem, and that is the problem. 

Saturday Night Live comedian Fred Armisen’s impression of Obama is pretty accurate. He captured his speaking style, the way he clips the end of his sentences, that hand movement with his thumb and pointer finger. But the impression is still just not as funny. Obama is well-spoken, has an impeccable stage presence and never seems to let his cool demeanor slide for a moment. Obama is no Bush or even Clinton when it comes to comedic material.

SNL garnered an enormous boost in ratings from its satire on the political campaign. It even devoted an entire half hour on Thursday night to election sketches. For years, decades even, it capitalized on Bush’s verbal fumbles, Clinton’s womanizing tendencies and Gore’s robotic mannerisms. Recently, it focused its writers’ pens on McCain’s elderly moments, Palin’s obnoxious adorability and Biden’s gaffe-prone speeches. An Obama presidency is just not as funny as a McCain/Palin or Hammond/ Fey one.

I still die a little inside when I realize we won’t be watching Tina Fey playing a flute onstage as Sarah Palin. It’s a sad day for America. SNL gained a 46 percent jump in ratings over last year, much of the boost attributed to Tina Fey’s excellent impersonation of Palin. Now all we can do is watch Fred Armisen’s Obama. It’s just not the same.

I just don’t believe an Obama presidency will bring the kind of presidential impersonations we, as Americans, have enjoyed for so many years. I felt so strongly about it that I put something on my facebook status in hopes it will cause people to wake up to their decisions.

A McCain presidency would have provided more great moments for Letterman, Leno, Conan and Colbert. With the way he addressed every crowd as, “My friends,” to his relentless need to mention Joe the Plumber in every speech and debate answer. How many comedians have risen in their careers, making fun of Presidents Clinton and Bush? A McCain presidency would have been four more years of late night monologues filled with presidential comedy.

In this time of economic darkness, we need comic relief. Who will we turn to in this great hour of need? We can only hope Vice President elect Biden will rise to the occasion. For a man who told the nation that FDR spoke on television when it was actually Herbert Hoover on the radio, we can only expect great things.


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