"Saturday Night Live" ignores McCain

The late-night comedy show has, apparently, decided there's only one candidate left making fun of any more.

Published October 26, 2008 4:03PM (EDT)

There's been some concern about what people like Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and the "Saturday Night Live" writers will do next year when George W. Bush (unanimously voted "easiest target in political comedy" for the last several years) moves out of the White House, especially if Barack Obama moves in. Last night, we may have gotten a preview of what that future holds.

"Saturday Night Live" opened with a skit mocking Joe Biden and John Murtha for their recent gaffes, and moved on to a parody of Obama's half-hour TV special scheduled for Wednesday night -- which will almost certainly not be as strangely entertaining as the musical variety show the skit imagined.

But almost entirely absent from the show was John McCain, or even Sarah Palin. (McCain was reduced to being a punch line in a joke making fun of Ralph Nader during "Weekend Update.") The show gave Obama a pretty hard time -- the musical variety show featured Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers as a radical Gnarls Barkely -- and it would be tempting to say the show was trying to make up for its brutal treatment of Palin recently by sticking it to the Democrats a little. But I think what we actually saw may go down in the pop culture history books, if Obama wins the election, as the first "SNL" of his administration; the candidate was effectively being treated as the incumbent. As Oscar Wilde noted, the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about. When even the comedians are ignoring McCain, it could be a bad sign for his prospects in nine days.

Here's the variety show skit; try not to let "Solid as Barack" get stuck in your head:

By Mike Madden

Mike Madden is Salon's Washington correspondent. A complete listing of his articles is here. Follow him on Twitter here.

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