Is Barack Obama the new Sarah Palin? Saturday Night Live thinks so. NBC’s TV show mocks President Obama as a hesitant, timid layabout. In another blistering, satirical attack on President Obama – the 2nd week in a row – America’s oldest and most powerfully influential comedy institution skewered him again. Like last week, the mocking satire blast focused on an increasing feel of many Americans that Obama’s first year in office has been disappointing, even devoid of substance. Fred Armisen again painted Obama as a do nothing slacker. Now, however, his luck at winning the Nobel Peace prize was parodied.
This week President Obama won the coveted Nobel Peace Prize. Americans are pleased at the honor, but it was a shock to many, including most importantly of all Barack Obama himself. Unlike past Presidential winners like fellow Democratic Jimmy Carter, snagging this prestigious honor usually comes after long service in the cause of world peace. For Obama to snag the Nobel Peace Prize in a first term as American President, and also his first year, is nothing short of stunning. So said veteran newsman CBS’s Bob Schieffer, ” Normally the prize is given for rewards, for results. In this case, it seems to me it was given for aspirations. It’s just a stunning surprise.” SNL’s creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels and his writers took this unusual turn of world events and ran with it.
In the skit, Fred Armisen as Barack Obama, says how honored he is to get the Nobel prize, but there’s more shocking news. He’s also won $70 million in the powerball lottery – off the first ticket he ever bought. SNL’s message is clear: This President is lucky – he won the Nobel Prize purely because of good fortune. Later in SNL’s Weekend Update with Seth Meyers, things got more condemning.
Meyers acknowledged Obama is now a Nobel Laureate, by playing a clip of him saying, “I know that throughout history, the Nobel Peace Prize has not just been used to honor a specific achievement. It’s also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes.” Seth Meyers quipped, “I thought that was the election.”
During the presidential race, both Obama and Palin were criticized for not having much of a record, for both being charasmatic, attractive people running on nothing more than a flashy smile. Some would even say both were “lucky” to be where they were. Saturday Night Live remains the most powerful satirical vehicle. David Letterman’s Top Ten, Jay Leno’s monologue or Conan O’Brien’s schtick all pale in comparison to SNL’s parody power. As Tina Fey mocked Sarah Palin, the country seemed to agree with the comedic brutality. With SNL now aiming similar comedic laser beams on Barack Obama, it seems Obama and Palin now have something more in common.