Now, it’s not like most of the other sketches Saturday Night Live does are especially golden in one way or another; a lot of the time, they fall flat, due to sexual jokes or whatever. (I mean, the “Vincent Price Halloween Special” sketch they did with Jon Hamm relied on two tropes – Liberace was gay and JFK had sex with lots of women. It got, like, two laughs out of me, and generally the Price sketches are hilarious.)
But the political sketches (outside, of course, from Weekend Update) continue to be, well, bad. I like Fred Armisen (I still think his Joy Behar is gold, even though that’s nothing like Joy Behar (though in the past she has said, “So what? Who cares?”)), but his Obama is not nearly as good as, say, Dana Carvey’s Ross Perot or George H.W. Bush. Further, the sketches are simply not funny. They try to lampoon a part of the week’s news (last Saturday’s opening sketch was a press conference between President Obama and Hu Jintao, with the bit largely devoted to Hu Jintao’s sexual deviancies), and it’s either (a) too close to the truth to the point where there are no laughs available, or (b) they just recycle the same bit over and over again (President Obama being calm, Harry Reid being unlikeable, Joe Biden being crazy, Nancy Pelosi being crazy, &c.).
They just take that dead horse and beat it, over and over and over again. Take Christine O’Donnell, for example. They had three sketches in the first two weeks, all dealing with the “I’m Not a Witch” thing. I mean, if they just did the commercial parody itself, fine, but they just had to do it multiple times, to the point where it wasn’t funny anymore. (In contrast, Auto-Tune the News’s songified “I’m Not a Witch” ad was tremendous.)
You know what they need more of? Jay Pharoah. He’s been absolutely tremendous in the few roles they’ve put him in. Will Smith? Spot-on. Denzel Washington? Okay at first, and then last week (in a parody of Unstoppable, with Chris Pine played by Taran Killam, who has also shown a few impersonations, the best being Michael Cera, and host Scarlett Johansson going off again and again about the Chrysler Building), spot-on. Eddie Murphy? Absolutely tremendous. This guy needs to be promoted from the B-team, and soon.