Desperately Seeking Barack

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‘In Living Color’ would not have had this problem.

NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” needs someone to play Barack Obama. Desperately.

This is SNL’s own fault, of course. They’ve always had only an anemic amount of ethnic comics on the show. They cut Horatio Sands, their lone Latino comic, last year but brought him back for a cameo playing, of course, half-Mexican Governor and former presidential candidate Bill Richardson. As for the blacks who round out the current cast they are a robust two: the underused but extremely talented daughter of Minnie Ripperton, Maya Rudolph and the too chubby to play Obama, former Nickelodeon star and “Fat Albert” doppelganger Keenan Thompson.

SNL has never kept more than one or two black comics on the show. Maya’s one of the few black women who’ve held down a regular spot. Past token alums included Tracy Morgan, Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock and Tim Meadows.

None of which, by the way, would make a good Obama. Except maybe Tim Meadows. I think he could pull an Obama out of his ass if he tried really, really hard.

This is pretty inexcusable for SNL’s demigod Lorne Michaels. It’s not like Obama was a nobody when he hopped into the race and by October, when Michaels had Obama do a cameo on the show, Barack was poised to overtake Hillary in press and popularity. Michaels couldn’t just ignore the fact that he had more than enough white men to play all the other secondary and tertiary Democrats running for president (back when there were five white male candidates), but no one to play Barack.

I realize that Barack is hard to poke fun at (and they’ve struggled at making Amy Poehler funny as Hillary.) Barack’s hard to peg because he’s not unbelievably dimwitted with an exaggerated Texan accent like Bush 43, a charming habitual liar with a gravely southern accent like Bill, or a nerdy, hand-gesture prone and clueless like Bush 41.

Still, that’s no excuse. There is still plenty of funny in Obama and there are a plethora of black comics and actors who’d love a crack at him. From his stuttering, oratory flourishes to the manic air of the people who surround him, to his veneer of “cool” and “hipness” while still being, essentially, a good looking nerd. Or they could just mock all the hype surrounding him, some of it real, some really crazy.

Or just be lazy and just have a comic do an Obama speech with fawning fans while the score from “Jesus Christ Superstar” plays in the background. I pick Keenan to play the Simon the Zealote.

Barack, you know I love you
Did you see I waved?
I believe in you and America
So tell me that I’m saved!

Seriously, how hard is that?

One thought on “Desperately Seeking Barack

  1. I’ve been disappointed in SNL for soem years now. Lorne Michaels needs to get with the 21st century and get some damn talented “colored” folks on the show. Maya is great and Keenan is ok, but SNL can do better.

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