[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/21/art.nbc.cnn.jpg caption="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."