Apparently, Lorne Michaels is worried that — because of a couple of cold opens spoofing the media’s kowtowing to Obama, Tina Fey’s funny but heartfelt “bitch is the new black” endorsement, and of course, an actual appearance by Mrs. Clinton her own self — people are perceiving Saturday Night Live as pro-Hillary.
This, naturally, brings up two related questions: 1) who still watches Saturday Night Live? 2) Are pro-Obama SNL viewers up in arms over the pro-Hillary bias?
My answers are: 1) me. 2) Not this one.
First off, I’ve been watching Saturday Night Live since the very first season, and — except for a couple of periods in the early 80s (Joe Piscopo, yuk!!) and early 90s (Rob Schneider, double yuk!!) — it’s always been a staple of my TV diet. Especially now, in the TiVo age, when skits have 30 seconds to reveal a potentially funny premise or they are gone gone gone.
Nevertheless, because it hit me at exactly the right age, I have a well of goodwill for that show that is irrationally endless. Or actually, it’s this: over the years, its had its ups and downs, but it eventually comes back into the realm being funny enough for me. That’s all I ask with long-running comedy institutions: SNL, The Simpsons, David Letterman. You don’t have to be as funny as you were when I first fell in love with you. You just have to be funny enough.
I actually think that, overall, the “funny enough” concept might even be more indefensible than my support for Obama — except to the crazies who have decided that all Obama supporters are disloyal — but there you go.
So why doesn’t SNLs post-Writers Strike bias towards Mrs. Clinton bother me? Easy. It’s satire. Satire is supposed to have a point of view, and it’s supposed to express that point of view in a humorous way. And SNL is still funny enough to me.
I don’t completely agree with the politics of any of the satire I love: whether it be South Park or Daily Show or Colbert Report or The Simpsons or King of The Hill. I’d rather have that satire be funny enough than to agree with my exact political opinions.
Satire that doesn’t have a point of view is just a series of unconnected attempted jokes. Some people call it The Family Guy or Mad TV. Occasionally, these shows may even stumble upon something funny, just as anybody who swings enough times at a batting cage is going hit some solid line drives, but for the most part, they are sabotaged by being unmoored from any type of solid point of view.
Or maybe they just aren’t funny enough.
I’m not saying that the SNL skits were uniformly funny (though Tina Fey was: can’t wait until 30 Rock comes back because I can only hope they do a whole bunch of shows about the Writers Strike), but I respect that they had a point of view — the media hearts Barack Obama too much — even if it wasn’t necessarily mine.
Also, it’s not like they haven’t been satirizing the Clintons for — you know — 16 years. And will again, because their real target wasn’t even Obama, but rather the media.
But even if it was — even if Lorne Michaels locked his writers into a windowless vault and told them in his best Dr. Evil impersonation to “take down Barack Obama” — I wouldn’t have an issue. They’d be coming from a point of view, and I respect that.
Just as long as it remained funny enough.