Having spent a considerable portion of their first episode skewering Romney last week, the folks at Saturday Night Live's special "Weekend Update Thursday" program decided to lampoon President Obama, although in doing so, the mockery wasn't as full-throated and nasty as it was against Romney, who was portrayed as a plutocratic racist.
Comedian Jay Pharaoh portrayed the president as overconfident and somewhat delusionally optimistic about the nation's economic outlook, but Obama was spared mockery of his many gaffes. Romney, you will recall, was mercilessly taken to task last week for the comments he made at a private fundraiser, and made to look like a out-of-touch bigot in the process (see video below, MP3 audio available here)
The 5-minute opening scene featured the impersonated campaigner-in-chief fielding questions from swing voters at a town hall meeting in Ohio. The running joke was that the economy can't get any worse than it already is. The hopelessness of the unemployed was the focal point of the sketch, but there was no direct blame of Obama's failed policies, just poking fun at Obama's campaign mantra that the 'hope' and 'change' he promised in 2008 takes time to implement. At one point Pharaoh's Obama character says "real change" might take more than 12 years to take effect or even well after he's died.
Obama's refusal to admit the dismal state we're in was at least acknowledged and highlighted in a humorous way. There may have even been some reference to the regulatory strategy he has adopted that makes private sector growth almost impossible.
Look, we're in a deep financial hole. The numbers are bad. 23 million people out of work. But things are getting better. Remember that movie, the Sixth Sense? I'm like the kid in that movie. I see employed people. I know you don't see them. You don't even know they're there, but one day all of you will be Bruce Willis and realize you were employed all along. Wouldn't that be nice? Look, I'm sure there success stories out there. A show of hands. Who here has created their own company in the last four years. No one? No one? Not one? Not one company?
The sketch got goofier as it wore on, but not because of anything Pharaoh said. Not once did Obama's doppelganger lose his 'coolness factor' as cast member after cast member acted as if they were just released from an insane asylum. Nothing could phase him, not even an admitted tumultuous tenure in the Oval Office.
Look, I know that it hasn't been easy. Not even for me. Look at me. I took office as a 47-year-old man. Four years later, I'm 75. Went from hip-hop star to jazz musician. From baby face to BB King. I guess black do crack.
It wouldn't be a SNL political sketch without working in a shot or two at the Republican challengers however. The first question was prefaced with "I don't want to vote for Romney," and in Pharaoh's closing statement he said, "Look, can we at least agree that Mitt Romney would be worse? Okay. That's right. There is something we can all believe in America."
Saturday Night Live
Weekend Update (Thursday Edition)
Sept. 27, 2012
8:00 PM EDT
NARRATOR: You are watching C-SPAN. This is not your mother's C-SPAN. It's your grandmother's. On Wednesday, President Obama was in Ohio where he addressed a gathering of swing state voters.
JAY PHARAOH (AS OBAMA): Thank you. Thank you so much. I've got three words to say OH-I-O. Must be a rally. I've got my sleeves rolled up like a weather man on Friday. As you probably know, you all have a big choice in November. So does anyone have any questions. Yes, you.
VANESSA BAYER: Hi. I got laid off in 2009, and still haven't found a job. I don't want to vote for Romney, but I really thought things would be better by now.
PHARAOH: Okay. I understand your frustration. I said from day one that real change takes more than one term or even one president. I don't know if it will even happen in eight years. It might take 12. Frankly I might be long dead. Maybe you'll be dead too. You hear what I'm saying?
BAYER: Um, I guess.
PHARAOH: Look, we're in a deep financial hole. The numbers are bad. 23 million people out of work. But things are getting better. Remember that movie, the Sixth Sense? I'm like the kid in that movie. I see employed people. I know you don't see them. You don't even know they're there, but one day all of you will be Bruce Willis and realize you were employed all along. Wouldn't that be nice? Look, I'm sure there success stories out there. A show of hands. Who here has created their own company in the last four years. No one? No one? Not one? Not one company? Okay. Who here has a job? There we go. What do you do, sir?
FRED ARMISEN: I'm a manager at a Burger King.
PHARAOH: There you go. Having it your way! And where were you four years ago? Probably working the counter, right?
ARMISEN: I was a vice president for Bank of America.
PHARAOH: Okay, the point is that today you are a manager of one of America's biggest companies. That's a success story. Probably get free burgers, right?
ARMISEN: No one gets free burgers. I actually had to fire a guy for eating a burger while on the clock. He got so mad, he threw a brick through the window.
PHARAOH: There you go. Free brick. You didn't have that four years ago. Much better off. You. What about you? How about you, ma'am. I saw your hand go up.
KATE McKINNON: I work at the apple store.
PHARAOH: There you go. One of America's great companies still growing.
McKINNON: I don't work for the computer store. I sell actual apples.
McKINNON: I have a shack by the highway. I sell mostly to immigrants and the occasional mule.
PHARAOH: Very good. Thank you. Very good.
McKINNON: I sell apples.
PHARAOH: Of course you do. Of course you do. Look, I know that it hasn't been easy. Not even for me. Look at me. I took office as a 47-year-old man. Four years later, I'm 75. Went from hip-hop star to jazz musician. From baby face to BB King. I guess black do crack. But I promise you, things are much better. Surely someone here has a job that wasn't around in 2008. Anyone? There he is. What do you do, sir?
KENAN THOMPSON: I chase raccoons out of foreclosed homes. It's great because all of those homes had people in them a few years ago.
PHARAOH: Good for you. Staying outdoors. Probably a lot of perks, right?
THOMPSON: Yeah. Sometimes I eat them raccoons.
PHAROAH: Anybody else better off? Anybody?
BILL HADER: I am. Doing great. Doing great. Real good. Real good. Doing real good.
PHAROAH: What do you do?
HADER: I guess I'm a cook or chemist. Cook, chemist, cookie chemist. I got a trailer in the woods. Woo! Woo-hoo!
PHAROAH: Okay, that guy's is fired up. Let's move on. Anybody else feel they're much better off than they were four years ago? Yes, sir. What do you do?
BOBBY MOYNIHAN: I don't have a job. I just won a lot of money in a lawsuit last year.
PHAROAH: I see.
MOYNIHAN: Yeah, I was eating at a Burger King and some guy hit me with a brick.
PHAROAH: There you go. Circle of life. Look, can we at least agree that Mitt Romney would be worse? Okay. That's right. There is something we can all believe in America. And live from New York, it's Saturday night!
8:05 PM EDT [ 5 minutes ]