A new edition of the "Saturday Night Live" oral history reveals what everyone already knew: the show has a liberal bias.
In the 200 new pages of the updated book, which first published in 2002, the writers, the cast and, heck, probably even the light technician, explain their distaste for conservatives and how they looked forward to mocking them on Saturday night. I've included just a taste of their comments.
Cast member Horatio Sanz, who I used to think was funny, explained why he had qualms about Will Ferrell's impression of George W. Bush, but loved Tina Fey’s Palin:
I always kind of felt bad when Will Ferrell did his Bush impression because he was such a good old boy that you really didn't think, "Oh, this evil little rich prick whose dad and his friends got him in office." You thought, "Oh, he's just a good old guy I'd like to drink beer with." As funny as Will's impression was, the audience as a whole, the whole country, would probably see that as, "Oh, I like Bush. Because he's Will." You know, if Will hadn't done that impression, or at least made him likable, it may have tipped it the other way. I honestly think so. We made up for it. I think Tina's impression basically killed Sarah Palin.
Whether or not the show’s interpretation of Palin did play a part in the 2012 presidential election, there’s no denying she was a favorite target at the NBC studio. Take, for instance, writer Paula Pell, who explained her confrontation with the former governor as such (emphasis mine):
I planned that I was going to come up and talk to [Palin] and shake her hand and welcome her and say, "My wife and I are very good people, and we live a very socially conscious life, and we do a lot for our community, and I just want you to know the face of gay couples and gay people," and I had this whole speech planned. Then I just kind of came up to her in the chaos in the hallway and just nodded and said "hi" and walked off. I thought to myself, "I'm such a chickenshit." I was like, "Wow, she's pretty." I just got overwhelmed by the fact that this character who was everywhere on TV was in front of me, and she was real and just ridiculous. So I didn't get my big political moment.
"SNL" Producer Lorne Michaels, who one would hope would stay nonpartisan, offended Palin by insisting he wasn't offending her:
[Palin] has wonderful manners — and I honestly don't mean this in a condescending way — but it's that pageant-winner thing.
Then, of course, we can't forget the woman who started it all. Tina Fey's opinion of the Alaska mom and governor she so hilariously, yet insultingly portrayed can be summed up by Michaels:
Tina was terrified of anything where they would be together looking like an endorsement.
But, as we all know, Palin isn't one to remain silent:
I know that they portrayed me as an idiot, and I hated that, and I wanted to come on the show and counter some of that.
As easy as it seemed to mock conservatives, "SNL" producers shared how hard it was to try and make fun of the current president, who can seemingly do no wrong. Producer-writer James Downey explained the challenge:
If I had to describe Obama as a comedy project, I would say, "Degree of difficulty, 10 point 10." It's like being a rock climber looking up at a thousand-foot-high face of solid obsidian, polished and oiled. There's not a single thing to grab onto — certainly not a flaw or hook that you can caricature. [Al] Gore had these "handles," so did Bush, and Sarah Palin, and even Hillary had them. But with Obama, it was the phenomenon — less about him and more about the effect he had on other people and the way he changed their behavior. So that's the way I wrote him.
In other words, Obama has no flaws. Downey did at least offer a rare glimpse of truth regarding the show’s agenda (emphasis mine):
The last couple seasons of the show were the only two in the show's history where we were totally like every other comedy show: basically, an arm of the Hollywood Democratic establishment. [Jon] Stewart was more nuanced. We just stopped doing anything which could even be misinterpreted as a criticism of Obama.
Downey isn’t alone. Former cast member Chevy Chase admitted to CNN’s Alina Cho he intentionally portrayed President Gerald Ford as a bumbling buffoon in the 1970s because he wanted Jimmy Carter in the White House.
For more proof of how biased the satire show is, read my article from Townhall Magazine, " Saturday Night Lies."
I'm going to give Palin the last word. Unlike the 'SNL' cast, she needs no script to throw a few zingers:
Palin: If I ran into Tina Fey again today, I would say: "You need to at least pay for my kids' braces or something from all the money that you made off of pretending that you're me! My goodness, you capitalized on that! Can't you contribute a little bit? Jeez!"