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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Coming together in a bipartisan spirit

Reader-submitted question: Megan, have you seen this skit from SNL? You've got to check it out soon because it keeps getting pulled.

I did not realise it until today, but apparently the Republicans have whipped themselves up into a lather about this SNL sketch featuring Kristen Wiig (Nancy Pelosi), Jason Sudeikis (George W. Bush) and Fred Armisen (Barney Frank). They call it "The Banned SNL Skit".

This sketch is not actually "banned". By this, I mean that it aired on television a few days ago and is currently prominently featured on the Saturday Night Live website's archive of recent videos. I watched it when it aired last weekend. That's Anne Hathaway as the woman who can't have children without getting stretch marks.

I was intrigued by the idea that the clip has been "banned", presumably because it makes fun of Nancy Pelosi and states that the Democrats deserve some of the blame for the financial meltdown. From what I can tell, the Republicans are furious because YouTube has been taking down this clip whenever people upload it. Just more proof that the elite media is against them!

It's sort of funny to watch. From Canada.

I'm sure the video has been pulled from YouTube, because NBC has been a total jerk about all NBC clips on YouTube, including SNL sketches. They have succeeded in getting all NBC material pulled from the site as soon as it is identified. Comedy Central's lawyers have done the same thing: just try searching for Jon Stewart clips. The big media companies don't want you to find their stuff on YouTube or even on a personal blog; they want you to find it on their own sites. If they find out you're doing this, you'll get a nasty letter from their lawyers. You can embed their videos from THEIR site, like I've done here. They get mad if you copy their content to your own server.

I think they're being jerks, but it is their property. They have a copyright in this material. They want you to go to their site to watch it. Yes, grumble, grumble.

This goes for ALL of NBC's clips. This one's no different. SNL makes fun of Nancy Pelosi all the time.

I do notice a small edit to this video, but I'm not sure why it was made. Near the end of the video, Darrell Hammond plays a guy who sold his portfolio for $24 billion. There used to be a super that said something like "These people should be shot" as he bragged about his investments. Ninety seconds from the end, you can hear the laughter from the live audience as this text was put on the screen, but it's gone from this video. I don't know why it was taken off, but I'm guessing that the NBC censors insisted on removing it.

UPDATED: There is another edit to the video, and I don't know why it was made, either. As he left, Hammond's character said this:
"Thank you, Congressman Frank, as well as many Republicans, for helping block congressional oversight of our corrupt activities."

This has been removed from the video on NBC's site. Is Hammond playing a real person? Someone who might have threatened to sue NBC for libel?

UPDATED AGAIN: Because I'm totally serious when I say that I like John McCain:


Megan said...

Three updates seems a bit excessive, so here I am in the comment box. Apparently Hammond was indeed playing a real person.

I've never heard of Herb Sandler before. I'm not sure if I can take any comfort from the fact that Lorne Michaels apparently hadn't, either. Like Mr. Michaels, I thought he was a character in the sketch.

The editing makes a lot more sense in context. It should have been caught before broadcast, but since it wasn't, I think SNL made the right decision here. They made the edits they felt were appropriate, and they talked to reporters about why they made those edits.

Sorry, Republicans.

Anonymous said...

The Republicans have given the same explanation that you have. Supposedly Herb Sandler "requested" they remove the skit.


Megan said...

Well, if he's a public figure, he can't really demand that the show stop satirising him. I admit that I'm not sure if he actually is a public figure. I had no clue who he was, but that can't be the test.