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Another election year means new SNL skits

By Alex Sferrazza
On October 1, 2012


As you should be aware, 2012 is home to yet another one of those special occasions that only occurs once every four years. No, not leap day, another U.S. Presidential Election.  If there's one show featuring political humor you should be tuned into (not featuring Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert), this year it has to be "Saturday Night Live."

Of course, it's tough to imagine the program topping its Sarah Palin sketches from the 2008 election cycle, which garnered Tina Fey an Emmy award for her performance, but the show has already been off to a good start.  The first cold-open of the season featured cast member Jay Pharaoh taking over the role of Barack Obama from Fred Armisen, who has played the part since 2008.  While Armisen played the President as a straight man, one can hardly blame him.  Unlike past Presidents including George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George H.W. Bush, which were portrayed memorably by Will Ferrell, Darrell Hammond, and Dana Carvey, Obama doesn't really have any easily imitatible eccentricities or mannerisms. Or so we thought.  Jay Pharaoh's spot-on impression of the President was hilarious, as anyone who has seen him perform it online.  Pharaoh's performance alone is something comedy fans should be excited for in the coming weeks.

The great thing about SNL's brand of political humor is that it maintains a non-partisan bias.  Whereas "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" sometimes skew towards a liberal bias in their humor, "SNL" for the most part attacks each and every political story from an outside point of view.  In consecutive weeks on "Weekend Update Thursday," SNL has attacked both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.  Romney (Jason Sudekis) was shown spitting out a "fine hamburger sandwich" at a McDonald's, showcasing his inability to connect with lower-class folks, while Obama (Jay Pharaoh) was shown quoting "The Sixth Sense" in an attack on the President's jobs record: "I see employed people."

NBC has also decided to bring back "Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday." Originally introduced for two limited three-episode runs in 2008 and 2009, "Weekend Update Thursday" is an extra half hour of "SNL's" sketch comedy in primetime on Thursdays.  Featuring a cold-open sketch, the rest of the broadcast is filled by an extended edition of the popular "Weekend Update" segment with anchor and SNL head writer Seth Meyers making cracks at popular news stories of the week, repeatedly interrupted by various characters such as "Drunk Uncle" (Bobby Moynihan) or ESPN analyst Steven A Smith (Jay Pharaoh).  Many would consider "Weekend Update" to be among the most consistently funny bits every week on SNL.  It has currently aired two shows this season which can be viewed online if you missed them.

The main program airs Saturday at 11:30 p.m. EST.  "Saturday Night Live" is can't miss TV during an election year, so make sure you tune in.

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