Splitsider: ‘SNL’ Recap: Daniel Craig and Debating the Debates

In this week’s SNLrecap I wrote for Splitsider, I discuss the show’s tradition of presidential debate parodies and how well this year’s edition fared, as well as host Daniel Craig’s uneven performance.


“While we often look to comedians to help us contextualize the news by adding some satirical spin or heightened reality, some events are so fixed at the heart of our cultural zeitgeist that the best form of commentary is direct parody. It is in this area that SNL – with its expert impersonators and innovative makeup artists — possesses an advantage over the other sources of political comedy on TV (for now, at least). In 2008, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert couldn’t openly call out Sarah Palin as the clueless media hog that she truly was without inviting criticism of sexism and bullying. Meanwhile, all Tina Fey had to do was to literally read the transcript from Palin’s catastrophic interview with Katie Couric, and SNL could deliver a devastating blow of satire while maintaining its sterling, unbiased image. Mostly.

I can’t think of a zeitgeist moment that’s so ripe for parody as a presidential debate. Witnessed by millions and dissected endlessly by pundits, the debates are so carefully manicured — yet full of so many revelatory surprises — that they often result in fascinating character studies. Yes, most of the time I prefer my SNL political sketches to hone in on one aspect of a candidate and expand it into bizarre caricature, as in Cosby Obama or Newt Gingrich Moon President. But with the debates, we don’t need a fun house mirror as much as we need an instant replay. A voice of comedic reason to explain to us precisely what happened, free of any agenda other than making us laugh.

Over the years, SNL‘s debate parodies have had a way of bypassing the spin of cable news and the Internet, giving us its own couple takeaways from the 90 minutes of soundbites. In 2000, it was strategery versus lockbox. In 2004, it was Cheney’s lesbian daughter. In 2008, it was McCain’s ploys to get Obama off the campaign trail. Now, in 2012, it’s Obama, sleepy and distracted. That’s right, according to SNL, the president’s greatest vice is being too thoughtful a husband.”

Read the full post on Splitsider.com.

About eavoss
Erik Voss is a writer, actor and improv comedian in Los Angeles. Please subscribe!

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