Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Hippies Win Again

It is no secret that Saturday Night Live is most successful when it focuses on politics, not silly characters. Indeed, it is safe to say that many younger viewers probably remember the fumbles of politicians like Gerald R. Ford, George H.W. Bush and Bob Doyle by the the caricatures Chevy Chase, Dana Carvey and Norm Macdonald created more than whatever archival footage is currently shown in history class. So it is no surprise that the sketch comedy is going through something of an artistic revival this season, just in time for the 2008 Presidential election and in time for Tina Fey to take on the seemingly custom designed role of Sarah Palin.

According to reports, the episode generated the show’s highest ratings since December 17, 2002, when Al Gore hosted the program. I remember that episode well and it was quite funny, especially a skit where Gore visits the set of The West Wing.

Since President Gore was riding high on his An Inconvenient Truth celebrity cachet, it is no wonder the episode received such high ratings. But one can’t help but wonder whether the episode generated such record ratings not just because to dealt with politics at the perfect time, but because it also featured the reunion performance by my favorite Vermont quartet featuring both members of 70 Volt Parade and Ramble Dove:


That’s right boys and girls and Sarah Palin supporters, a jamband is responsible for SNL’s biggest ratings since the middle of George W. Bush’s first term. That means they smoked the pops stars, the hipsters and even the politicians and, if you think about all the fodder Dubya has given the media since 2002, that’s a pretty impressive feat. Too bad Trey and Tipper Gore never got their side-project off the ground....

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