[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/11/02/art.mccain.snl.saturday.jpg caption="Sen. John McCain appeared on 'Saturday Night Live' and poked fun at his own campaign.'"]
NEW YORK (CNN) - With three days to go before the elections and polls showing him trailing, Republican presidential candidate John McCain appeared on NBC's late night comedy show "Saturday Night Live," poking good-natured fun at his campaign.
The Arizona senator appeared in the opening skit, next to former cast member Tina Fey reprising her role as his running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. He made a second appearance during the 'Weekend Update' segment that skewers current events.
"This past Wednesday, Barack Obama purchased airtime on three major networks," he said in the first skit. "We, however, can only afford QVC (the television home shopping network)."
Later, McCain - who delivered his lines with a smile on his face - took another shot at his own expense.
"Look, would I rather be on three major networks? Of course," he said. "But I'm a true maverick - a Republican without money."
In between, McCain and Fey - playing Palin - hawked campaign memorabilia.
Among them were a set of knives that cuts through pork, and a jewelry collection that McCain's wife, Cindy, held up.
He dubbed the latter "McCain Fine Gold" - a play on the name of the campaign reform act that he sponsored with Russ Feingold, a Democratic senator from Wisconsin.
McCain also took humorous potshots at his Democratic rivals, Illinois Senator Barack Obama, and his vice-presidential pick, Delaware Senator Joe Biden.
McCain pointed to a set of 10 commemorative plates that he said celebrates the 10 town hall meetings between him and Obama.
"They are blank," he said. "He wouldn't agree to those debates."
Obama had rejected McCain's proposal for joint town hall meetings. The two participated in one such appearance as part of the three presidential debates.
As for Biden, the SNL skit had Fey hawking a set of "Joe" action figures: Joe the Plumber, Joe Six-Pack and Joe Biden.
The plumber reference was meant to invoke the now-famous Joe Wurzelbacher, who McCain has held up as a small business owner who will see his taxes rise if Obama wins the presidency. Joe Six-Pack is a term Palin has used to describe a regular American.
Fey, as Palin, pointed to the dolls and said of 'Joe Biden': "If you pull this cord, he talks for 45 minutes."
McCain, without missing a beat, added: "It's great if you want to clear out a party."
The skit ended with the senator delivering the signature line that opens the show every weekend: "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night."
About half-way into the show, McCain joined cast member Seth Meyers in the 'Weekend Update' segment, where he unveiled radical last-minute campaign strategies he was considering.
Among them was the 'Reverse Maverick' ("that's where I do whatever anybody tells me"), the 'Double Maverick' ("that's where I go totally berserk or just freak everybody out, even the regular mavericks") and the "Sad Grandpa."
"That's where I get on TV and go, 'Come on, Obama's gonna have plenty of chances to be president. It's my turn,'" he said.
McCain has made two previous appearances on the show, which airs Saturday nights on NBC.
The program, which has drawn attention for its political skits this year, garnered its highest rating in 14 seasons two weeks ago when Palin made an appearance.
Obama canceled an appearance in September as a result of Hurricane Ike.
But he appeared on the show in November 2007, making an unannounced cameo during an opening skit about a Halloween party at New York Senator - and Obama's rival during the Democratic primary - Hillary Clinton's house.