Sunday, January 30, 2011

SNL: The Betty Ford Clinic of Celebrity Images

Can I go? Do they like me now?
Yeah, okay, we get it. If a famous person with a bad reputation appears on Saturday Night Live, it means they're actually cool and have a sense of humor about themselves. Message received.

As if showing up for an unscheduled, "surprise" drop-in and standing around awkwardly while the cast spends three minutes gently teasing them for their bad behavior will make us magically discover how down to earth they are. Gosh, we've really misjudged him. He's not actually the __________ (vile noun) that we thought he was.

Especially if it's super low key, and isn't officially scheduled so as to appear spontaneous and fresh (never mind that SNL dropped out of the spontaneous and fresh sweepstakes during Reagan). Like, wow, the celebrity doesn't even care if anyone knows they're on. Like, wow, he doesn't care about the "viral" buzz surrounding his appearance the next day. Like, wow, the show is really letting him have it. We would have thought his agent and lawyers would have carefully vetted the jokes beforehand. Don't know about you, but a joke just isn't funny until a lawyer does a rewrite.

SNL just isn't thinking big enough. If it's going to sell the last musty crumb of it's comedic credibility, and instead stage unfunny faux-happenings to help agents rehabilitate their clients image then at least go for the big time. Mark Zuckerberg is small potatoes. Next week, Lorne Michaels should book embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Fred Armisen could do a feeble, slightly racist impersonation of him, and Andy Samberg could serenade him with a rewritten version of A Flock of Seagulls song. Ipso-presto Mubarak isn't a repressive ruler of a police state. He's Hosni - the kooky yet misunderstood leader of one of our closest military allies. Thanks SNL; we came to laugh, but instead we made a friend.

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