Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Debate about SNL's Obama Choice

Wassup, Y'all!

If you've tuned into Saturday Night Live lately, you've no doubt noticed that they've chosen SNL cast member Fred Armisen to parody Smooth Barack Obama. If you've read the news lately, you've no doubt heard the mini-controversy about SNL creator, Lorne Michael's decision to go with and stick with Armisen as the shows Obama mimic.

Several racial demographics have been attributed to Armisen - northside, eastside and even westside, but no southside, hence the controversy. Personally, I've got no beef with a northsider playing a southsider or vice versa as long as the portrayal is positive and tasteful. So if Freddie is the best of the current SNL cast that they can trot out to parody Smooth, that's cool, but here's my overall issue with SNL (beside it no longer being very funny), with all the southside comedic talent in the country, why does it always seem so hard for them to find and hire more?...

Before Freddie A. got the Smooth gig, there was big yappin' going on from SNL about their plans for a big search for a Smooth mimic, a search which would presumably bring in a number of southside comics. Well just like Dick Cheney's VP search lead to him becoming the VP, SNL's search lead to one of the existing cast members assuming the role. Hold up. In NYC alone, you ought to be able to find at least one southside comedian who can do a Smooth impression at least as well as Freddie's. Sounds like weak a$$ lipservice to ol Ty. Very weak.

In fact, SNL's entire history of fieldin' southside comics is pretty weak. A quick look over at IMDB shows, by my count, nine southside cast members since the show began in 1975:

Garrett Morris
Tim Meadows
Tracey Morgan
Eddie Murphy
Chris Rock
Finesse Mitchell
Danitra Vance
Maya Rudolph
Kenan Thompson (Current Token in Residence)

Late last year, the rumor was that Kenan Thompson was plannin' to get into game shape to play Smooth. He wanted the gig, but since K-Thom is still a biscuit away from 300 lbs. he couldn't match up with Smooth's wiry physique. So we're left with this, y'all : 33 years of SNL. Nine southside cast members. And now the contention that they can't find one to be the show's Smooth Barack mimic - a gig that could run for 8 years. Somehow, I just don't find that funny.



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