“Saturday Night Live”: Sketch comedy politics


There’s lots of chatter on the web tonight about political comedy conspiracies and NBC’s motivation for yanking a biting Saturday Night Live sketch from this past weekend that needles a few prominent liberal billionaires.

Los Angeles Times scribe Mary McNamara gets to the heart of the whole thing in an interview with “SNL” boss Lorne Michaels that was posted on the Times’ Show Tracker blog Tuesday evening.

Michaels explains that the major issue with the sketch, which depicted a news conference to tubthump the plan held by Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank, was that he thought that two of the people portrayed in the sketch were fictional characters. In fact Herb and Marion Sandler are very real, and very rich from selling their subprime mortgage-pumping bank, Golden West Financial, to Wachovia for a cool $24 billion not so long ago.

Michaels told McNamara that he spoke to the Sandlers, and then made the call to pull the vid of the sketch off NBC.com, snip out some of the harshest (and probably legally actionable) comments out, and and then repost the kinder, gentler version.

Michaels sounds a little humbled by the experience. For the exec producer of “SNL,” that’s saying something.

First of all, I pleaded incompetence (when speaking to the Sandlers), which is not a thing I do often, and the fact that I did not know they were real is 100% my responsibility… I understand the Sandlers’ complaint. I think it’s not insignificant to read ‘People who should be shot’ underneath your name.

Michaels’ comments are unlikely to quiet the conspiracy buffs who note that the Sandlers are big supporters of liberal causes, as is another public figure skewered in the sketch, George Soros.

Today’s dust up over the sketch is likely to boost “SNL’s” already soaring ratings. Why, it’s almost as if the government, and the men and woman who would be our next prexy and veep, have staged their own bailout for this august American institution at the outset of its 34th season.

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  1. You were bummed that michaels caved? Why? It seemed right, to me! :P

  2. the mad chatter says:

    Twilight on SNL, Robert Pattinson as Host!
    Just Imagine the Skit Possibilities!
    We the loyal fans of Twilight and Robert Pattinson petition NBC and Lorne Michaels for a special Twilight show with Robert Pattinson as host. Spunk Ransom’s innately quirky sense of humor and acting abilities make him a perfect host candidate. Combine that with the LEGION of fans thirsting for more Twilight (who have broken viewing records for the movie trailers) and success is assured. Also, the movie soundtrack provides a selection for musical guests.
    1. Go now and sign the petition for “Twilight on SNL”.
    2. Email NBC or Lorne Michaels on November 1st with the subject title “Twilight on SNL”.
    3. Spread the word.

  3. ronfromhollywood says:

    what is great about SNL is that they are FAIR AND BALANCED. they dog republicans, AND they dog democrats. they go where the truth takes them, then they stab it with a spork!
    as a conservative fox news loving republican PATRIOT who is not ashamed or hateful of anything in AMERICAN HISTORY or the West. because American slavery pales in comparison with Africa, Middle East, Asia and serfdom, but I digress!
    (richest black people in the world…but i digress!)
    i appreciate SNLs skits. I and the rest of America are beginning to see that SNL is not in the tank for Socialist Liberals, that they are going to go after anyone in any party.
    FAIR AND BALANCED… i’ll tune in.

  4. Andrew says:

    I gotta say, I’m a little disappointed that Michaels caved so willingly. Say what you want about the “people who should be shot” line, but it was funny. It was the best joke of the sketch. With that said, I’m willing to concede the scrubbing of that line since I suppose it could lead to something ugly if a nutcase watched it, but why in the hell should have to remove saying something as simple as “corrupt activities?” Since when is this show forbidden from making mean jokes at the expense of public figures? These billionaires ought to grow a pair.

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