SNL’s Obama Challenge: He’s Not Goofy Enough

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.

Indeed, in addressing the idea of a pro-Obama bias on the show, Mr. Michaels pointed out that the Clinton campaign had in fact tried to arrange an appearance for the season premiere, but that it fell through because of scheduling conflicts.

“If she had come on, everyone would have said we were tilting towards her,” said Mr. Michaels.

Watching the show, though, no one could make that mistake.

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?”

And at one point in the most recent show, she tells a John Edwards character that, come next November, “we all have to support the Democratic nominee. No matter who she may be.”

“She is a richer character,” explained Colin Jost, a 25-year-old writer on the show who was also out picketing on Monday afternoon. “You can do a million things with her. There’s more history with her that you can pull from.”

Mr. Michaels went so far as to suggest that Ms. Poehler’s Hillary impersonation had a benign undertone.

“There is an attitude that she is playing that I find kind of sympathetic,” said Mr. Michaels. “The thing with Bill is kind of like—bemused.”

During Saturday’s opening sketch of a Halloween party thrown by the Clintons for Democratic presidential candidates, the Hillary character, in costume as a bride, is repeatedly mistaken for a witch. Her caddish husband Bill, who was supposed to have dressed as the groom, arrived instead dressed as Mystery, from the VH1 reality show The Pick-Up Artist.

The last guest at the party arrives in an Obama mask, which is removed to reveal Mr. Obama himself. Looking a little wooden but getting a huge hand, he says to the Hillary character, “May I say, you make a lovely bride.” Whereupon the Bill Clinton character interjects, “She’s a witch.”

“The witch was just playful,” said Mr. Michaels, who described the costume as a metaphor. “Whatever her costume is, she is just perceived by one group of people one way and by another group of people another way.”

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 Mr. Michaels. He added that an Obama character would appear when the country had a better sense of the candidate. “The more that he starts to wear and people say, ‘That’s who he is,’ and have a clearer sense of it—that’s good.”


SNL’s Obama Challenge: He’s Not Goofy Enough