SNL: Hillary Clinton Is Funny. Barack Obama? Not So Much

snl.jpgSNL does not hate Hillary Clinton, really. It's just that Amy Poehler gets camera time playing her, and writers can more easily gin up skits for laughs: "Over the past year, viewers tuning into Saturday Night Live have seen Hillary Clinton depicted as a ruthless, power-hungry, arrogant witch. On the rare occasions that Barack Obama's name is so much as mentioned, he receives gentle, if not admiring, treatment."

Is SNL backing Big O? Not quite, SNL producer Lorne Michaels tells The New York Observer. "He is not as defined to our audience as he is to political reporters."

"Some of the show's top writers, picketing outside Rockefeller Center on the afternoon of Nov. 5 in support of a freshly declared writers' strike, explained that Mr. Obama's absence from the program was due first and foremost to the fact that no one had figured out how to play him or what was funny about him.

"It's not a pro-Obama thing," said Steve Higgins, a 44-year-old writer and producer of the show. "Even if there was an actor to play him, the writers are having a tough time. The story line is the anointed one who is no longer anointed... It's like he's up against a steamroller and he's done as well as he can. What's funny about that?"

Um, true. Sounds Tiananmen Square-ish.

"Interestingly, it's Mrs. Clinton--who is often portrayed as having an almost Nixonian lack of humor--who might most benefit from a "sock it to me" appearance on the show. In a skit that aired before Mrs. Clinton officially declared her candidacy, the Hillary character tells an interviewer, "Is there anyone in the f-----g country who didn't know I was running for president? I've been running for president since I was five! Are you f-----g retarded?

"According to John Solomon, a 37-year-old writer on the show, the sketch "mirrors Americans' perception" of the race. Which is, in the end, not such a ringing endorsement of Mr. Obama.

"You can try and get them to like somebody they don't like, but it is not going to happen," said Michaels."

SNL's Obama Challenge: He's Not Goofy Enough [NYO]


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