Author: Sean L. McCarthy

This week’s comedic late-night TV guests

Time once again to check the late-night TV talk show listings to see which comedians and comedic actors will be making the rounds. Note: Some show listings still TBA. David Letterman…Monday: Will Ferrell; Friday: Tommy Tiernan Jay Leno…Monday: Catherine O’Hara; Tuesday: David Koechner; Thursday: Wanda Sykes Conan O’Brien…Monday: Will Arnett; Tuesday: Will Ferrell; Thursday: Robert Schimmel Jimmy Kimmel…Thursday: Martin...

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SNL: All about the impersonations

The return of Saturday Night Live got people talking about who they’d pick to play Barack Obama. The show itself reminded viewers and comedians alike that to make the cut and join the cast, you better have more than one impersonation in your back pocket. Don’t know when I’d seen so many celebrity characters in one episode, though much of this had to with the "Celebrity Apprentice" series expansion sketch. Here’s a recap from this past Saturday… Fred Armisen: Obama, Gene Simmons, Javier Bardem (from No Country For Old Men) Will Forte: Univision anchor Jorge Ramos, Judge Lance Ito Bill Hader: John Mark Karr, Daniel Day-Lewis (from There Will Be Blood) Darrell Hammond: Donald Trump Amy Poehler: Hillary Clinton, Six Flags dancing guy Andy Samberg: Matthew Lesko (the ? infomercial guy) Jason Sudeikis: CNN’s John King, Bret Michaels, Ted Allen Kenan Thompson: Charles Barkley Kristen Wiig: CNN’s Campbell Brown, Jennifer Tilly Casey Wilson: Rachael...

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SNL returns; Armisen as Obama?

Saturday Night Live answered the Obama question right away in the cold open, which tried to take on this week’s CNN/Univision Democratic debate. Fred Armisen played Barack Obama. So??? Armisen has similar facial features, which helped his cause. Already has that faraway look in the eyes down. Skin tone? Too light. Voice? Eh. Which makes for an early verdict of, to use the TV political parlance, too close to call. Of course, Armisen isn’t half-African, but that didn’t stop him from impersonating Prince for years on the show. He won the gig over three outside comedic candidates, all of them African-American. That alone should prompt some renewed debate about SNL’s casting diversity. Again. Hence the renewed. For Lorne Michaels, though, it could’ve just as easily been the easy and economic decision to pick an Obama from within the cast, at least for now. He’s shown with President George W. Bush that he’s OK with recasting the role when it suits the show, so why rush into hiring a new SNL’er, right? The larger problem, anyhow, is that SNL’s political jokes continue to fall short of the funny finish line. They still go for the obvious joke. In this case, the media loves Obama. By the time Armisen attempted a "yes we can" joke, the bit had stretched too long. I clocked it. The entire cold open lasted almost nine...

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