September 21st, 2008
03:11 PM ET
10 years ago

SNL mocks McCain-Palin for second-straight week

Darrell Hammond portrayed McCain on SNL Saturday night.

Darrell Hammond portrayed McCain on SNL Saturday night.

(CNN) - Saturday Night Live, the longtime NBC sketch comedy show that has arguably wielded significant influence this presidential election season, skewered the McCain-Palin ticket for the second straight week in a row Saturday.

In the show’s opening sketch, a Darrell Hammond impersonation of John McCain is shown in an advertising studio recording his tagline for a bevy of negative - and ridiculously false - campaign ads. The ads level such allegations as Barack Obama wants healthcare coverage for the entire universe (including Osama bin Laden) and supports tax cuts for pedophiles.

The sketch also takes a dig at McCain's age, portraying the Arizona senator as unfamiliar with digital recording technology (After he is told it is a new technology McCain says, "Like 8-track?")

Politico reported Saturday the sketch was actually conceived by former SNL writer Al Franken, the current Democratic challenger to Norm Coleman's Minnesota Senate seat.

SNL has already proven its ability to crystallize emerging campaign narratives this election cycle, widely credited with raising a general perception the media was in love with Obama during the primary election season in a series of sketches last winter. SNL's portrayal of Sarah Palin last weekend also synthesized several questions raised about the Alaska governor's readiness to serve as vice president.

With a weekly viewership stretching into the millions that reaches a swath of (mostly young) voters who aren't as closely following the ins and outs on the campaign trail, SNL has a clear ability to shape general perceptions of both presidential tickets in the final stretch of the race for the White House.

Responding to SNL's depiction of McCain, spokesman Tucker Bounds said, "Saturday Night Live is funny, Barack Obama showing no sign of life or leadership during a banking crisis is not funny."

Filed under: John McCain • Popular Posts • Sarah Palin
soundoff (457 Responses)
  1. Mitzie

    Comedy only works when there is a level of truth to it.

    September 21, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  2. s

    Indeed, the "fundamentals" of our political humor are "strong." In contrast to other McCain fundamentals and fundamentalists.

    September 21, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  3. Kathryn

    Why wouldn't SNL take advantage of such a golden opportunity to laugh at politics? Crocodile grinning McCain, and moose huntin'-beauty queen Palin are pretty funny characters. Actually a lot of Republican ideas are quite funny.....until you realize that an awful lot of people bought into them in 2000 and 2004. The result wasn't funny at all. I'm just hoping people don't make the same mistake this year!

    September 21, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  4. River

    GE the parent company of MSNBC and NBC is desperate to gain views for their loser programs! Take a look at GE stock to see what I mean. McCain-Palin can take all the jabs from the Liberal-Leftist and the Independents and other fair minded people will see propaganda for what it is. USA, USA, Palin, Palin.

    September 21, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  5. Isabel

    Who cares? Could we hear about some issues, please? There are too many very serious issues right now to worry about a show that nobody watches.

    September 21, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  6. Dave, Boston

    Well, Mitchell, we could try to stop them...

    September 21, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  7. Chris, Orlando

    SNL = Saturday Night Liberals.

    Another viewer lost.

    September 21, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  8. Olivia

    I see it differently.
    The world will see our political system as very biased. Freedom of speech is great until it's taken advantage of......then it is the people that is judged, not the policy.

    September 21, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  9. Nancy

    Yes, they do deserve it. Both are SO out of touch and nonprogressive, they'd set us back ANOTHER 50 years (on top of Dumbya's damage). I'm going to move to Canada if stupid Americans elect them as our next "leaders". Gag.

    September 21, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  10. Ken

    Well thats a satirical way of highlighting McCain's deceptive, false, and totally misleading ads. I can't believe they are still harping on Obama raising taxes when it is clear that he will lower taxes for 95% of Americans.

    It is as if truth doesn't matter to them. The republican administration has mislead the American people into an unnecessary war, and continues to lie to the people. America deserves a president who won't deceive and lie their way to the presidency.

    September 21, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  11. John

    Except that the demographic that watches SNL is already a lock for Obama so it will have absolutely no impact whatsoever.

    September 21, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  12. Tombo, B'ham, AL

    Idea for the next skit. The sit-down meeting with Sarah Palin and Hamid Karzai.

    Tina Fey as Palin:
    Mr Karzai, I am totally confident I can win the war in Afghanistan. I know the Afghan people. Todd and I have at least 3 afghans in our living room. One was hand-made by a friend and the other I bought from Sears.

    September 21, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  13. Texas

    Comedians just make fun of candidates's characteristics.

    That Sarah Palin has no substance, that Bush/Cheney 2.0 (aka McCain/Palin) are running a campaign of lies, that McOld does not know what a computer is, etc. is just who these two buffons are.

    September 21, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  14. Cathy in MD

    SNL does have the ability to shape general perceptions on the road to the White House … but, I think a more accurate description of what we’re seeing in this case is that SNL clearly REFLECTS general perceptions. Nobody can make this stuff up! SNL is just throwing it all back at us in the interest of comic relief. Obama ’08.

    September 21, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  15. JC

    Nice work, SNL, especially as it's hard to satirize a parody.

    September 21, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  16. Greg in Ohio

    twenty years of SNL. I watched because you were funny. Not any more. Just another NBC rag. Good BYE SNL at least on my tv

    September 21, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  17. Keith

    Franken is a polarizing figure f'sure but he's as quick witted as he is annoying and one of the 100 funniest people in America (unlike Dennis Miller who proves that you can't be creative and a Republican idealogue at the same time. ) Just wish I could see this skit online because I missed it last night and NBC is exercising copyright control over it...why? It's free publicity for a show that's become politically relevant for the first time since the 70s!

    September 21, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  18. Allen

    Its ironic how the most accurate news actually comes from comedy sketches such as SNL and The Daily Show instead of the MSM. All you guys do is report ads such as the ones that McCain has run and say something like 'These seem less than truthful' instead of stating what they really are–outrageous lies designed to deceive the american people.

    September 21, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  19. joyce

    about time some one holds accountable the republican darling (not) for the way they want to finish our great nation off.
    go obama,biden,michelle,jill,hillary,bill and all the advisors of bill clinton who now stand with obama

    yes they can fix this mess

    September 21, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  20. ronald thompson

    to their credit, SNL skewed the new york times too. so far obama has been safe from their writers, but it's only been two shows, and the show has improved greatly since tina fey took a hike.
    it's at least watchable now, though still not really funny. maybe when they drop the intelligent style they're trying so hard for, the comedy will flow a bit easier.

    apparently though, some on the staff feel that their audience is made up of only one demographic-easily manipulated young people, and they're willing to risk ratings to suit their agenda.
    who knows? maybe it's working for the john leibowitz daily show
    (spewing much propaganda lately john? good luck with that.)

    September 21, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  21. Bob

    This is great stuff, no matter who it is aimed at. Everyone knows all of the real news comes from SNL and others shows like the Daily Show and Colbert Report. These are the only outlets that show politics for the circus it is. Great TV SNL.

    September 21, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  22. peter, CT

    If they were smart about this, campaign managers would realize the power that these comedy shows wield. The daily show, the colbert report, SNL... these shows shape a huge chunk of the public perception. And if you think negative ads work, try comedy on for size. The rise of ipod cult was a combination of a product that works and an awesome marketing strategy. Even now, years later, they're still successfully dragging PCs through the mud with the same viral ads. Maybe the campaigns avoid comedy because this is a "serious matter"... but I'd rather laugh at our pitiful state than cry over it. So if anyone knows david plouffe, tell him to recruit comedy central's writters for a couple weeks.

    September 21, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  23. Joe, Pomona, California

    The sketch was funny, yet also painful. The sketch mentions that unspeakable push-polling the Bush campaign used against McCain in 2000 – that stuff about him "fathering a black child out of wedlock." Now that McCain has actually hired the guy behind that ad to work on his 2008 campaign, the idea that he might run a similar ad against Obama has a sad ironic truth to it. McCain's not the same guy he was in 2000.

    September 21, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  24. BO

    I am Barack Obama and I approve this message.

    September 21, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  25. JB

    So Obama attacks McCain, lying, saying that McCain isnt for equal pay for women. And yet, he picks Palin as his VP, and . . . .this breaking news!!!

    Obama’s 28 male staffers divided among themselves total payroll expenditures of $1,523,120. Thus, Obama’s average male employee earned $54,397. Obama’s 30 female employees split $1,354,580 among themselves, or $45,152, on average … on average, Obama’s female staffers earn just 83 cents for every dollar his male staffers make …

    McCain’s payment patterns are the stuff of feminist dreams. McCain’s 17 male staffers split $916,914, thus averaging $53,936. His 25 female employees divided $1,396,958 and averaged $55,878. On average, according to these data, women in McCain’s office make $1.04 for every dollar a man makes.

    September 21, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
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