I don’t watch SNL much anymore. It isn’t personal—it’s just that I’ve usually turned off the television by 11:30 on a Saturday night. The show is apparently still going strong, though, and every once in a while a particularly good sketch ends up on Facebook. Last night, for instance, Tina Fey resuscitated her Sarah Palin impression.
Tina Fey is as good as it gets when it comes to Sarah Palin, from the mannerisms to the voice. She’s so good that when I saw the opening frame of the video, I wasn’t sure if it was the original Sarah or the sendup Tina.
Fey’s rendition combined malapropisms and ignorance in a kind of frightening and frenetic rap—it was a wonderful showcase for Ms. Fey’s many talents. But as I commented to someone on Facebook—it was like poking fun at a clown: she’s already laughable. Making fun of her doesn’t enhance the laughter.
Beyond that, there’s something pathetic about Sarah Palin. We can’t help wondering how someone gets that far in the political arena (or in life at all) with such a diminished awareness of self. At the Trump rally last week where she was introduced, the subsequent sound bites made me cringe. I wanted her to stop embarrassing herself (along with what remains of the American political system).
In 2008 when Palin was John McCain’s running mate, she gave speeches that contained at least a modicum of coherence. She was certainly outspoken—the pit bull of the campaign—and seemingly out of control at times, but she played her role effectively and, if not gracious in defeat, at least didn’t hurt anybody. Now she seems frazzled, confused, and incoherent. If it’s all an act, then satirizing it makes even less sense.
Even in a country that ridicules Duck Dynasty and Honey Boo Boo, this is somehow worse. Meaner. Sadder.
Easy laughs, but little else.