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McCain set to host ‘SNL’

Show may beat on Bush

“Saturday Night Live” is harking back to its rebel roots, booking Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) as a guest host next season.

The former presidential candidate, prisoner of war and continued thorn in the side of President George W. Bush will appear on “SNL” Oct. 12, the second episode of the show’s 28th season. Faith Hill is the scheduled musical guest.

While numerous politicos have dropped by “SNL” over the years, the few who’ve hosted the show have tended to be populist figures like McCain.

Former Gotham Mayor Rudolph Giuliani hosted the laffer in 1997, following in the footsteps of GOP presidential candidate Steve Forbes (1996), Ed Koch (1983), Ralph Nader (1977) and Gerald Ford press secretary Ron Nessen (1976).

McCain told Daily Variety he “immediately said yes” when “SNL” exec producer Lorne Michaels asked him to host and that he was honored to be called upon.

“I’m a little nervous,” McCain said. “Some say there’s a fine line between political theater and theater. But it’s going to be fun.”

McCain said at least one of his family members is very happy about the booking. “It’ll be the first time my 17-year-old daughter has been impressed with anything I’ve done since she’s become a teenager,” he said.

McCain will fly to New York the week before the show for rehearsals. He’s not sure what to expect yet in terms of sketches, but noted “SNL” and Michaels traditionally aren’t “too worried about crossing boundaries.”

Bush bash

It’s a good bet “SNL” will fully exploit McCain’s still-sticky relationship with President Bush. Indeed, McCain will be one of the first “SNL” hosts to interact with the show’s new George W. Bush — whoever that may be.

Michaels hasn’t decided yet who will replace Will Ferrell as the show’s Dubya. Also being finalized: A host for “SNL’s” Oct. 5 season premiere.

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