Mock Trial

A campaign blog.
Nov. 5 2007 12:28 PM

Mock Trial

Barack Obama went on

Saturday Night Live
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this weekend, an appearance that, along with his

on Ellen, people are calling his "

." But it also highlighted a problem (for others, if not for him) that still persists: It’s

.

The skit takes place at a Halloween party. Amy Poehler stood in for Hillary (dressed as a bride), Horatio Sans did a great sycophantic Bill Richardson (dressed as Al Gore), and Darrell Hammond reprised his role as Bill Clinton (dressed as "Mystery" from The Pickup Artist ). Obama played himself, dressing for Halloween as himself, which allowed him to get in a half-joke about authenticity: "I have nothing to hide. I enjoy being myself."

The moment was funny, but it also drew attention to the fact that no one currently on SNL could do a Barack Obama impression. (Something tells me Kenan Thompson isn’t quite right for it.) And anyway, what do you make fun of? His ears? His aloofness? The closest anyone has come so far has been Robert Smiegel’s animated "TV Fun House," which depicts Obama and the other presidential candidates confessing their secrets on Oprah . "I’ve made drugs myself," brags Chris Dodd, only to be one-upped by Obama: "I’m high right now." But when it comes to impersonations, he’s seemingly immune.

Needless to say, mocking politicians has never been a problem for SNL before. Here are a few morsels:

  • A debate between George W. Bush (Will Ferrell) and Al Gore (Darrell Hammond)
  • Darrell Hammond’s Gore after he won the Noble Peace Prize
  • Will Ferrell as George W. Bush on voting (spot sponsored by ACT)
  • Norm McDonald’s Bob Dole meets the real Bob Dole (transcript)
  • Hammond addresses the nation as Fred Thompson (yanked)
  • Dana Carvey’s George Bush Sr. announcing the first war in Iraq
  • Carvey does George W. Bush
  • Seth Meyers’ John Kerry congratulates Will Forte’s George W. Bush on his victory

P.S. NBC’s diligent policing of YouTube makes old SNL skits ridiculously hard to find. Send others if you got 'em.

Christopher Beam is a writer living in Beijing.