A little humor won’t hurt

October 27, 2008

by Kristen Miller

“Saturday Night Live” has its good days and bad days, just like any show. A good cast of comedians is key to the show’s success.

My favorite SNL days were with legends like Chris Farley, Phil Hartman, David Spade, Mike Myers, Adam Sandler, Dana Carvey, and Will Ferrell, just to name a few.

Oh, and let’s not forget my favorite women actors, like Cheri Oteri, Molly Shannon, Amy Poehler, Kristen Wing, and of course, Tina Fey.

It’s no doubt Fey’s recent portrayals of Sarah Palin will go down in the show’s history.

As soon as Palin was announced as John McCain’s running mate, people were seeing the resemblance between her and the comedian.

It’s almost bizarre how much the two look alike, and it didn’t take long for SNL writers to put Palin in their scripts.

Fey has done a wonderful job portraying the vice presidential hopeful (even though Fey says she will be done after the election, whatever the results) no matter how far-fetched it can get sometimes. But isn’t that what makes it so funny?

“I can see Russia from my house,” was one of the lines spoken by Fey, not Palin herself.

During Palin’s appearance on the show Oct. 18, Poehler rapped a song on the Weekend Update set with Palin sitting at the desk.

Despite some of the lyrics, Palin was a good sport throughout it, guns and all (Poehler, as Palin, shooting a moose because she was an “animal”).

For those who missed it, scenes can be found online.

Following the show – which gave SNL the highest ratings in 14 years – people wondered if this hurt or helped Palin’s chances in November.

According to a poll taken on Extra’s web site, 53 percent voted this would help Palin because it showed she had a sense of humor, while 47 percent said it hurt Palin and she never should’ve appeared.

I personally think it helped her. It shows me Palin can let loose and not allow negative publicity get to her, which is what US elections seem to be all about.

Throughout SNL’s 35 years, it’s been spoofing politics and presidents going all the way back (all the way for me, anyway) to Chevy Chase’s impressions of Gerald Ford as a klutz, which I was told Ford admitted about himself.

I loved Carvey’s impression of George H. W. Bush, and Hartman’s Bill Clinton.

Also, during Ferrell’s time on the show, he played a great George W. Bush.

Making fun of presidents never gets old on SNL. If nothing else on the show is funny, one can count on the humor from a presidential impression.

For this election, Palin isn’t the only one being made fun of on SNL.

Fred Armisen’s Barack Obama character has a stark resemblance to the Democratic presidential nominee, and Poehler has done a great Hillary Clinton in the past. Clinton wasn’t shy, either, to appear as herself on SNL.

I don’t think people should be taking these characters as seriously as some are. SNL is meant for laughs, not facts.

For the same show Palin appeared on, actor Josh Brolin was the show’s host. Brolin plays George W. Bush in Oliver Stone’s new movie, “W,” which is a biography about his life and presidency.

During Brolin’s introduction on SNL, he explained how he prepared for his character as the outgoing president.

It’s all about studying mannerisms and speech. This is exactly what SNL actors do, just a little more exaggerated. Like Bush, Palin is the perfect person to be spoofed on SNL, especially her distinct accent.

In order to be funny, characters have to be over-the-top. SNL is purely for humor, and people should take it as just that.

A little laughter never hurt anyone. Let’s hope so, for Palin’s sake, anyway.