Monday, March 10, 2008

Live, from New York…

A bitch had two fierce cups of coffee this morning.

I hate daylight saving time.

Ugh.

Shall we?

I missed the infamous Saturday Night Live skit where the press fawns all over Senator Obama during a debate but I caught it on the Today Show (a.k.a, NBC’s prime-time cheerleading squad) and was alarmed to see a certain Fred Armisen playing Senator Obama.

Now, catch that knee before it jerks! I don’t give a flying shit about how talented Armisen is or how funny the skit was or blah followed by ‘but ABB, why are you pissing in my SNL adoring Corn Flakes?’ blah and blah. Fuck all of that. In the 232 year history of this nation this is as close a person of color has ever gotten to the presidency and that can’t even secure a brother steady job on SNL?

Don’t get me wrong, I understand very well that one person’s insulting as hell Al Jolson revival is another person’s source of off-beat humor.

Maybe I wouldn't be as annoyed if Maya Rudolph had been cast to play Hillary. As if, right? I mean the first SNL female presidential candidate played by a...cough.

Yeah.

Anyhoo, I honestly was going to let it all slide as yet another example of The Man behaving predictably until this past Saturday’s opening skit that spoofed the Clinton 3 a.m ad.

Senator Clinton, seated at a desk, introduces her ad by admitting it is going to be way over the top and not based in fact (funny), then the ad starts and she is seen answering the phone by her bed in a bathrobe, hair in rollers with a face mask on (okay, guaranteed laugh there…we are nothing if not easy to please). Senator Clinton finds a bumbling and befuddled Senator Obama on the other end, mouth agape and brow wrinkled in frustration, the Obama voice over is saturated in confusion (oh shit) and desperation (oh, fuck no!) as he reaches out to Senator Clinton and begs her to help him walk through a challenging international situation (Christ Jesus!).

As I watched Poehler’s Clinton calmly walk Armisen's incompetent Obama through Diplomacy 101 something happened to me. I felt a flush of discomfort that turned quickly into disgust. Watching Armisen’s face contort and his eyes bulge used to make me laugh but now, his face darkened and his hair styled in an Afro, that shit was anything but humorous.

Armisen in character had become Armisen in blackface.

Didn’t anyone question having Armisen’s Obama get his Amos and Andy on? Or was that the point…the ever fucking goal…because exaggerated wide eyed black frustration at intellectual challenges is funny but exaggerated black frustration at intellectual challenges played by a man in black makeup and an Afro wig is hilarious?

Sigh.

A bitch fears that The Mantan Show is in pre-production at the peacock network even as we speak…

18 comments:

Dusty said...

I am glad you spoke up about this stupidity. Thank you Shark Fu!

THE fly GIRL said...

Yeah, I saw that too and was pissed as well. The bigger question is: of ALL the talented comedians out there, you mean to tell me Keenan Thompson tops them all? Why is it and has it been standard for the last 20-something years for them to only employ 1 or 2 black folks? Yet they're quick to grab Jay-Z to perform. Step your game up SNL.

Tha BossMack TopSoil said...

Yup, This is good ass post. I think Barack should get to host tha show and clown Hillary.

Diana said...

Actually, Fred Armisen is of German, Japanese, and Venezuelan descent. I think it's hypocritical of you to just stick him under the 'white' category.

That said, I do see what you mean about the lack of black people on SNL.

Shark-fu said...

Diana...
I believe the term would be inaccurate but point taken and thanks for the clarification.

Delux said...

Hey girl i have been waiting for you to weigh in on this hot mess.

Dusty said...

Delux,that is one helluva interesting story you bring up..and once again it's an anglo trying to be 'bad' ala James Frey.

Too bad she didn't write it as Fiction, it might possibly of still been a big hit.

glenise said...

thanks for the heritage breakdown, diana, but german, japanese, and venzuelan still ain't black which is how obama identifies. haven't seen the skit, but going to youtube it right now!

KP said...

I actually think blackface in this context would have been funny, as in, this is Hillary's portrayal of Obama.

Because the whole skit is a Hillary ad.

And as far as SNL goes I think they should have had someone besides their Obama playing the Obama in the Hillary ad.

This is a little confusing play within a play within a play thing. But hopefully you get my drift.

Anonymous said...

You forgot the dig at Al Sharpton. SNL has openly endorsed Hillary, so go figure that they're like the Clinton campaign and use despicable tactics to take him down. At least Geraldine Ferraro says being black is the ONLY reason Barack has gotten this far. What a plus!

more cowbell said...

I saw both weeks live. I was annoyed the first week; it was pretty blatantly pro-Hillary, and making Obama look like everything was handed to him. But whatever, it's SNL, they're supposed to push limits, as far as the skit itself. As far as the actor choice, I was more bothered by that -- I'd heard they were scrambling to find a Black actor who could do Obama, so I was very surprised to see Armisen in the role! I had been waiting to find out who they'd found to be the new Obama man. Um, a can of Kiwi, that's who.

The second week ... I was disgusted and pissed. They went too far. The 'blackface' issue, the issue that there is apparently no Black actor in this country qualified to play Obama, and then the way they consistently portrayed him, as you so aptly described ... they went too far.

I'm usually ok giving SNL a lot more latitude than I do with other things, but that was ridiculous.

And on top of everything? Armisen doesn't even do a good Obama!

Rounder said...

Diana, I'm not sure Armisen's racial make up is the issue here. The sting (for me anyway) occurs when I see someone who isn't of African decent darken their features to play someone who is. That said, I would have been ok with Armisen's portrayal of Obama if it was funny. It wasn't.

I also agree that the bigger picture is that the show that once helped make Eddie Murphy a household name doesn't have a suitable black actor to play Barack Obama. He's been famous for a few years now, SNL, let's get it in gear. I heard a rumor that they've launched a nationwide search for an actor who can play Obama, but I think it's a little late.

No one questioned the skit because there was no one to question it. Tina Fey broke through as the first female head writer on SNL, but when have you heard about black writers on the show? I'm sure they've had a few, but when do you hear about them?

And again, IT WASN'T EFFING FUNNY.

fabooj said...

And this is why you got my You Make My Day Award. I was pissed when I learned they colored up a white guy to be Obama. Hell, they could have gotten a Latino to play Obama. NYC and SNL couldn't find one comedian of color to play Obama? Please.

Danny said...


He's been famous for a few years now, SNL, let's get it in gear. I heard a rumor that they've launched a nationwide search for an actor who can play Obama, but I think it's a little late.

I could believe that rumor because if Obama wins then they must have someone lined up to for the inevitable presidential skits that SNL will preform throughout the president's term. On the other hand if Clinton wins its no problem because they already have several white women any of which could become the presidential spoof for the next 4 years.

As far as a lack of black actors its going to be hard to find an Obama spoofer for two reasons:
1. SNL doesn't exactly have a long track record of black men. After about 30 seasons we have Garrett Morris, Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Tim Meadows, Kenan Thompson and.... And there are even fewer black women (I can only think of one).
2. Given that if Obama wins someone would have to take on the task and stigma of being the first black presidential spoof. I know thats a landmine I wouldn't want to step on.

Amadi said...

According to Wikipedia, starting this weekend, Armisen will also be portraying the new governor of New York, David Patterson.

And it looks like Maya Rudolph has chosen to leave the show, so if Obama is elected, it doesn't look like we'll have anyone available for a reasonable portrayal of Michelle, either.

Micha said...

On fly girl's comment about SNL not having enough black folk: Word!
That being said... C'mon y'all! Kenan Thompson could never pull off a halfway decent Obama, witout some serrrious jenny craig. And shows gotta work with what they got. (What they need to do is GET more people of color so we won't be havin this problem again...)
Oh and by the way Danny, in your list above you forgot my boy Tracy Morgan!!!

Gioperation said...

Whatever...that skit was was some funny ass shit and rightly so...The president of US is a tough as job...and it was funny...you got to admit that...you aint seen nothing yet! The funny thing about politics and jokes is a lot of the times the shit that joke about is the truth...if we take our heads out of our asses and wake up.

Something else that I find funny that I did have done quotes from both barack and hillary and barack doesn't really have a quote on record about shit that he is serious about...maybe now that he is running for president...but really what about before...

Ryan
quote of the day

Anonymous said...

Yeah Ryan. It's just so funny when a show that wishes to endorse Hillary Clinton puts her opponent in blackface and turns him into a bumbling coon. A real slap happy time. I'm sure it it were possible, Al Jolson would replace the house band and make for a truly exceptional minstrel hour. Afterwards, they could screen Birth of a Nation.

Know what I find funny? How Hillary has so many quotes to go along with so many failures.