Queen Latifah to play Gwen Ifill

Betcha Saturday Night Live will mock the veep debate tonight.

By Salon Staff
Published October 4, 2008 3:21PM (EDT)

Move over Tina Fey.

The Queen is in the house -- rapper and actress Queen Latifah that is. She will play the vice-presidential debate moderator Gwen Ifill on Saturday Night Live tonight, according to People magazine. That's if SNL does a veep debate sketch tonight, since the line-up isn't finalized until right before air-time. If Tina Fey will be reprising her role as Sarah Palin this evening, perhaps she is studying the very handy Sarah Palin Debate Flow Chart right now.

Why shouldn't SNL keep milking the vice presidential race for laughs? Consider that according to Nielsen Media Research 17.5 million more people tuned in to watch Palin and Joe Biden than watched the first presidential debate between John McCain and Barack Obama. The presidential debate was on a Friday night, when many Americans might have other plans, and there will be two more presidential debates, but still!

The vice-presidential debate on Thursday night drew almost 70 million viewers making it by far the most watched vice presidential debate since 1960 when Nielsen started keeping track. It also drew a larger audience than the vast majority of presidential debates. Only Ronald Reagan debating Jimmy Carter in 1980 had more viewers than Palin vs. Biden.

Last Thursday's debate also equaled in viewers the debate between Bill Clinton, George Bush and Ross Perot in 1992. Maybe Americans just love a freak show.

UPDATE: Joan Walsh has posted the video of the SNL sketch satirizing the veep debate on her blog here.

Salon Staff

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