The goal when any politician appears on Saturday Night Live is to show that he or she can take a joke. So consider it mission accomplished for Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin last night.
The Republican candidate for vice president, who appeared in the show’s cold open and later in the "Weekend Update" segment, wasn’t called on to do much more than keep a straight face while comedy went on around her. Palin lookalike Tina Fey once again played the governor in a mock press conference that opened the show, while the real Palin and Lorne Michaels stood backstage and watched on a monitor. Michaels lamented that Palin didn’t do the opening sketch herself, and she countered with, "Why couldn’t we have done that 30 Rock sketch I wrote?"
"Honestly, not enough people know that show," was Michaels’ reply about the show he produces and Fey stars in, which has two best comedy Emmys but not a very big audience.
After a brief interruption by Mark Wahlberg — who was looking for Andy Samberg to discuss the "Mark Wahlberg Talks to Animals" sketch from a couple weeks ago — Alec Baldwin came up to berate Michaels and "Tina" about letting "that woman" appear on the show. Told that it was, in fact, the real Palin standing beside her, a chagrined Baldwin said, "Forgive me, I have to say this, but you … are way hotter in person. I can’t believe they let her play you."
"Thanks," she answered. "And I must say your brother Stephen" — he of the decidedly conservative political views — "is my favorite Baldwin brother."
Fey and Palin then passed one another as the governor walked on to the press-conference set and got to deliver the "Live from New York" line.
On "Update," Seth Meyers introduced Palin for a piece on "clear[ing] up misconceptions about her campaign," but again Palin demurred, saying she didn’t feel comfortable doing the bit they had rehearsed. Meyers then asked co-anchor Amy Poehler if she’d be willing to step in, and the brilliant Poehler then launched into a rap that I can’t possibly do justice in print.
Fortunately, I don’t have to. Here’s the video:
And here’s the opening sketch:
It all amounted to a pretty harmless cameo for Palin, similar to the ones John McCain, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have made over the course of the campaign. She did fine with the limited amount of material she was given, but like her fellow pols’ appearances, I doubt it will have a lot of lasting impact.
Your thoughts on last night’s SNL and Palin’s cameo?