“Saturday Night Live” used to benefit from the “Live” part of its moniker. What better way to instantly react to the news of the week, or even the past 24 hours, than with a show that can be changed right up until someone says, "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!"
This week, the show's writers ignored President Obama politicizing the death of Osama bin Laden so egregiously even Arianna Huffington couldn’t stand it. And they clearly didn’t read about the violent, albeit poorly attended Occupy Wall Street protests and the arrest of five OWS members charged with planning to blow up a bridge.
Instead, they focused on Rupert Murdoch’s phone hacking case.
The show’s opening segment mocked “Fox and Friends,” portraying the hosts as relentlessly anti-Obama, dumb and just a bit racist. The bit featured Murdock (Fred Armisen) as a sort of string puller behind the show. Armisen’s impression was a hoot, but once more than show saw fit to attack right of center targets in the opening minutes.
Of course, "Saturday Night Live" would truly be subversive – like its glorified early years - if they tackled NBC News' EditGate. Talk about sticking it to The Man, even if The Man signs your paychecks. The program’s old guard would be proud. Instead, they said “Fox & Friends” was so riddled with inaccuracies the corrections segment scrolled across the screen at a rapid pace to fit them all in.
Talk about misdirection.
Later, guest host Eli Manning took part in a laugh-free Occupy Wall Street sketch that had nothing to do with the movement’s rampant violence or the aforementioned bomb threat.
“SNL” rarely touches OWS. When it does, it actually gives props to the movement and echoes its talking points, as the show did with a faux Mayor Michael Bloomberg sketch from last year. Or, they insult Fox News for daring to cover the seedier side of OWS.
“SNL” can still use its live nature for good. Last night’s show offered a tribute to Adam Rauch, a member of the Beastie Boys who died this week after a battle with cancer. So why can’t it read the rest of the week’s headlines and use humor to deflate the powerful, the violent and the corrupt?
After hearing recent interviews with several key cast members, it’s all too clear why.