Hurricane Sandy took the wind out of the presidential campaign for a few days last week and sucked much of the political humor out of this weekend's episode of "Saturday Night Live."
The funniest presidential moment on the show came (above) when host Louis C.K. turned Abe Lincoln into a frustrated stand-up comic. "Lincoln" - a send-up of "Louie" - failed to find some pals among a couple of freed slaves at a bar. Lincoln also argued with Mrs. Lincoln before they headed to the theater. "I'm married now, my wife is crazy, I mean historically insane," he later said on stage "I just know I'm totally getting murdered...I feel bad for the detective who is trying to solve my murder." Lincoln then lumped "everybody from the middle of the country on down" as potential suspects. Among those listed in the credits were "Unit Production Manager U.S. Grant" and "First Assistant Director Hannibal Hamlin."
The show surprisingly avoided Jay Pharoah's version of President Barack Obama three days before the election and Mitt Romney (Jason Sudeikis) made a only brief stop by the "Weekend Update" desk to join Seth Meyers, remind voters "he's still running for president" and offer his final argument for becoming president. Romney urged voters to reflect on the first presidential debate. Romney also said he couldn't be held to anything he said during the Republican debates because that would be like holding someone to something they've said while "pledging a fraternity."
This week, Donald Trump (Sudeikis) told "Fox and Friends" viewers that the damage from Hurricane Sandy has hot affected the shooting of "All-Star Apprentice."
He also pledged to give a $1 million to Trump's Buddies - an organization dedicated to "throwing trash at Rosie O'Donnell" if President Obama released his text messages to various terrorists, including the Riddler. C.K. played a straight-talking FEMA rep trying to get his points and explain the government's response to to Fox anchors Gretchen Carlson (Vanessa Bayer), Steve Doocy (Taran Killam) and Brian Kilmeade (Bobby Moynihan) The corrections at the end of the of "F&F" are worth a few minutes of examination on the DVR replay.
During "Weekend Update," Meyers also reported that the New York subway system would be running at full capacity this week, which is amazing "because it has never happened before." Aidy Bryant nailed her stop by the "WU" desk as a social media expert/moonbat, offering her input on the importance of social media in the current campaign.
C.K. (Szekely), a Newton North High School grad who started his comedy career on stage in Boston, offered a tribute to "old ladies" in his monologue and their willingness to say just about anything. "Eight-year-old boys and old ladies share the same sense of propriety...I connect with old ladies. They're my favorite demographic."
C.K. was able to inject humor into an Australian Film Classics sketch and as a ram's horn-blowing mountain man who couldn't get his names straight and as a hotel front-office manager over-charging a guest. He certainly had plenty of fun during his appearance, which was fitting since "Fun" was the musical guest.
The show opened with Michael Bloomberg (Arimsen) and Chris Christie (Moynihan) doing their best to re-assure the beleaguered residents of the New York and New Jersey following Sandy's rampage. They were assisted by a pair of dynamic sign-language, scene-stealing translators.
Christie sort-of re-iterated his support of Romney. "I'll vote for Romney, but I'm going to hate it." Bloomberg closed with a message to his Spanish-speaking viewers - warning then that "in the coming days, the white people of New York will be irritable and moody because they have no internet, do not have Facebook. No seamless web. Their cable isn't working." And because of that, they can't watch "Homeland" which is "the worst thing that ever happened to them." Bloomberg, who had threatened to arrest the president if he tried to visit the city, closed this opening urging the citizens of Gotham to "resist the urge to eat trans-fats."
Fat chance there, Mr. Mayor.
No matter who wins Tuesday's election, SNL viewers should be well-served by the show's version of the president. Sudeikis is a near dead-ringer for Romney in both his looks and mannerisms. Sudeikis, whose Joe Biden would be missed during a Romney administration, is able to skewer Romney at times without displaying any venom. During the 20 years of the George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, Dana Carvey (Bush 41), the late Phil Hartman and Darrell Hammond (Clinton) and Will Ferrell (Bush 43) usually insured that the show had a strong cast member who could deliver as president on any issue - when needed. All were spectacular during their presidential terms, with Carvey adding in Ross Perot for good measure in 1992. Others may have played those leaders, just not as well.
Here's a quick trip down memory lane, starting with Hartman as Clinton in 1993:
Carvey as Bush 41:
And Ferrell as Bush 43:
Dead-on presidents haven't always hasn't been the case on SNL. Chevy Case set a very funny standard for Commanders in Chief on the show as Gerald Ford, but his portrayal of Ford as bumbling, uncoordinated oaf who couldn't make it across the room without tripping was 180-degrees opposite of reality considering Ford's athletic background as an All-America football player at Michigan and downhill skier. Dan Aykroyd was much more on-point - if not as funny and over-the-top - with his grinning Jimmy Carter (and even better as Richard Nixon and Bob Dole). The show always lacked a decent Ronald Reagan and Armisen was never very funny as Obama, namely because he bore little physical resemblance to the president and the show usually treated the president with kid gloves. Pharoah's Obama is much more on-point than Armisen's ever was for reasons that go beyond his race and similarities in stature and build. Pharoah is able to capture and mimic the quirks, speech patterns and foibles of the president much better than his predecessor.
We may or may not be able to view that for another four years.
Anne Hathaway hosts next week with Rihanna as musical guest.
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