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Jim Geraghty: If You Were Going to Build a World That Creates and Enhances Depression & Anger, Wouldn't It Look A Lot Like Our Current World? | Main | Overnight Open Thread (8-20-2014)
August 20, 2014

Confirmed: Saturday Night Live is No Longer Funny, Has Been In the Bag for Obama & the Democrats for Years

Via @rdbrewer4 in the sidebar, one of SNL's main political writers (the writer for those great Gore/Bush debate sketches) says so himself.

Well, he doesn't say the show isn't funny. But I think that's "confirmed" just by watching it. It's awful.

He does confirm that while the show used to attempt a bit of balance -- you know, like a real comedy show -- they threw that out the window some time ago.

Here's Jim Downey:

Downey: The biggest risk to doing political comedy is, you always seem to have a choice: Am I going to piss off the audience by trying to get them to laugh when they don't like what I'm saying, or am I going to kiss their ass and get this tremendous wind at my back by sucking up to them? The second way makes me feel like I cheated. I'm sure there are a lot of people in comedy who completely share every f--ing detail, jot and tittle of the Obama administration agenda, and all I can say is: To the extent that you're sincere and that's really the way you feel, then you're a very lucky person because, guess what, you're going to have a very easy career in comedy because audiences will always applaud. They may not laugh, but they'll always give you [a] huge ovation. That's Bill Maher, you know?

Downey attempting to "challenge the audience." You know, challenge the audience's expectations and bigotries, the way liberals say they think artists should, except they always mean challenge conservative audiences, not us, for God's sake!

Downey: There was one Bush piece I did a couple times in dress that I think died twice and was never on. It was after Abu Ghraib. I knew I was in very dangerous comedy territory, and it was a piece where Bush was trying to justify Abu Ghraib. He was addressing the nation and saying it was an attempt, maybe awkward on our part, to make Iraqis more comfortable with their bodies. There was something about the joy of the nudist lifestyle, and I remember at one point it had a joke like, "Many people have objected to the fact that the detainees were forced to mime sex acts. Now, is it the fact that it was sex acts that you find offensive or is it that it was homosexual sex acts? Think about that, then tell me who's in the wrong here." I thought it was funny. It was a desperate attempt to turn the tables on critics. When we did the sketch [in dress rehearsal], it was like a death camp in there; the audience was like, "No." There's not laughing, and then there's aggressive silence.

I have no idea if that would be funny if actually played out, but the audience's "aggressive silence" seems to indicate they did not appreciate any challenge on their political beliefs here.

And here's Downey on SNL becoming pure hack:

Downey: I used to write this stuff with Al Franken when we started out; I was a standard-issue Harvard graduate commie, and Al was like a Democratic Party stalwart. I had contempt for the partisan stuff. And I became more conservative over the years, to the point where I'm now a conservative Democrat, which means in Hollywood terms I'm a McCarthyite, I suppose. But I have to say, and even Franken agrees with me -- I've talked to him about this --- that the last couple seasons of the show were the only two in the show's history where we were totally like every other comedy show: basically, an arm of the Hollywood Democratic establishment. [Jon] Stewart was more nuanced. We just stopped doing anything which could even be misinterpreted as a criticism of Obama.

Per other interviews, it turns out that Downey's main opponent was the unfunny partisan hack Seth Meyers, who, yes, insisted that the show should take a stand and that Downey's attempts to scatter around the jokes were no longer Politically Acceptable.

The progressive media really bought into that following Steven Colbert's WH Press Corps dinner speech. Colbert made fun of the media for treating both sides "with balance," and essentially argued you can't treat both sides "with balance" when one is Smart and Good and the other is Dumb and Evil.

That ethic soon after infected the news media -- all the partisans in the media could not wait for an argument to throw off the shackles of pretended objectivity -- and I guess Seth Meyers was a real fan of the idea too, and decided even a comedy show had to Take Sides.


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posted by Ace at 06:42 PM

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