SNL Reid-Pelosi Satire Not Funny

Because the show’s funny during election cycles, we TiVo “Saturday Night Live” for viewing Sunday.  Because it’s seldom funny otherwise, we tend to watch the only the opening, fast forward until a potentially promising skit appears, watch Weekend Update, and the fast forward until a potentially promising skit appears.  Quite frequently, no promising skits appear, making this a rather fast process.

After Saturday’s episode, I may just give up until the next election cycle. Even their political skits aren’t funny anymore. Take, for example, this week’s opener featuring a mock Harry Reid – Nancy Pelosi press conference:

To the extent this was funny, it seemed to be in poking fun of the idea of bipartisanship and taking the position that the Democrats should be more Pelosi-like in their attitude toward Republicans.  (An impression bolstered during the Weekend Update segment when Seth Meyers dismissed the tax problems of Obama appointees on account of how Bush “broke the world.”)  This isn’t good satire but rather hackish commentary.

Professional entertainer Joe Gandelman had quite a different takeaway:

SNL skewered Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on the stimulus plan via a satire that could reflect a growing perception that might not be helpful to the Democrats. The big news: it centered on the assumption that Pelosi is a mega-partisan who looks down on bipartisanship and is actually a stumbling block to it.


The great comedy coach Greg Dean told me in some of my private sessions with him in my other incarnation that a joke is a “shattered assumption.” The joke or bit will die if the audience doesn’t share at least some of the assumptions behind it. That’s why watching SNL and late night comedians gives you a clue to a growing conventional wisdom (which may or may not be accurate but it’s out there…and growing).

I just don’t see that, even on a (painful) re-view.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. whoisme says:

    I think it’s funny. 🙂