Why Alec Baldwin should still replace Olbermann

The "30 Rock" star isn't making the move to MSNBC, after all -- but it's a big mistake. And here's the video proof

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Senior Writer

Published January 26, 2011 9:18PM (EST)

Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin

When rumors began swirling this week that MSNBC was looking to replace temperamental lefty dreamboat blowhard Keith Olbermann with temperamental lefty dreamboat blowhard Alec Baldwin, it seemed too nutty to be true. Baldwin is a beloved comic actor, not a cable TV talking head, for pity's sake. Today, a spokesperson for NBC confirmed that the rumors were untrue, but that doesn't mean that it shouldn't happen -- like Olbermann, Baldwin has a magnetic television presence, a flair for getting attention, and a distinctive way with words. He may not possess Olbermann's glasses or gravitas, but has Keith ever done a spot on Charles Nelson Reilly? "30 Rock" can't last forever. And the elite liberal media needs a new wacko pundit of its own. Need further proof that Baldwin could be the greatest crazy thing to happen to cable since public access? Let us count down the ways.

  • You think Glenn Beck is a drama queen? Baldwin got his big break on a soap opera. Just watch Old Blue Eyes demonstrate the proper way to do a real career nose dive on "Knots Landing."

  • He's been a grizzly daddy since before anybody knew the name Sarah Palin.

  • He's not afraid to ramble as angrily and nonsensically as anyone on the Murdoch payroll, as evidenced by his notorious "rude, thoughtless little piggy" voice mail to his daughter.

  • He is completely in touch with his inner dysfunctional African-American family.

  • He has a plan for restoring America to greatness. And it might involve show tunes.
  • He understands that "a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do ... for fresh dill and scallions."

  • He knows that coffee is for closers.

  • Just imagine him explaining healthcare reform in his Charles Nelson Reilly voice. It would be sublime.

  • But the best reason of all to give the man at least five hours of prime time a week? Three little words. He. Is. God.

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a senior writer for Salon and author of "A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles."

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Alec Baldwin Keith Olbermann Television