SNL: S23E07... HOST: RUDY GIULIANI... DATE: NOVEMBER 22, 1997

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Oh How I Miss These Days Of Political Fun

It’s hard to believe that there was actually a time when I enjoyed the SNL episodes that were hosted by politicians no matter what party they belonged to. These episodes were always surprisingly fun because we got to see these politicians as real people. Plus, this was before public relations had everyone one percent under their thumb so these politicians being real people would inevitably stir up controversy when some harsh truths were made fun of during their grown-up play time.

Yes, these visits were still publicity stunts and calculated to give us that human feel but this was before the calculating became so precise that it now doubles down on the robot vibe the politician involved is trying to avoid. Now, I can’t stand even seeing a cameo from a modern-day politician, because it’s clear that they’re not taking a break to have fun but instead just pushing their policies or get ahead of a soon to be revealed scandal.

Thankfully, I can still watch these old shows with political hosts without feeling my current outrage against the ruling class because this turned out to be one of the best episodes of the season so far. Again, a big part of it was Giuliani’s energy since he genuinely seemed to be excited to be there as a representative of New York.

I even remember liking this episode back in the day to the point where I loved Giuliani even though he was a Republican who represented a city that’s politics had nothing to do with me. Now, I can’t stand the guy, but not really because of his political affiliation but because the current state of politics has got me to the point where the last thing that I want a politician to do is attempt to make me laugh while continuing their shady business behind the scenes.

Not only that, but I preferred back in the day when comedians were critical of the powers that be rather than propping them up in order to establish and maintain a working relationship. Back then, there were routines like the cab driver sketch where the political guest had to be critical of himself in a way that acknowledged the opposition's point and not just rubbing it in. Now, it feels like nothing more than pandering and self-promotion.

It will be interesting to see the exact point where the tides turned for political hosts in general, until then, it’s now time to wrap this one up by moving on to give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with a sketch called Dramatic Giuliani where Colin Quinn attempted to talk some sense into Mayor Giuliani to straighten up before doing the show since the politician was going overboard with his efforts to fit in as an actor. Colin Quinn is mainly upset that Giuliani’s new Shakespeare inspired look will make him come across as a weak representative of New York City and insisted that he mayor-up before heading out of the monolog. As always, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Rudolph Giuliani then officially opened the show with a monolog where he showed just how much he had improved New York since becoming the city’s mayor. He even went as far as to claim that New York City is now so safe that he wants to bring back hitchhiking as a legitimate form of transportation. He then went on to introduce us to Norm who played a hitchhiker who Giuliani picked up on his way in to host the show.
  3. This was followed by a parody of Nightline where Giuliani interrupted an interview with Will Ferrell, as Saddam Hussein, in order to refute the dictator’s claims that the two were best friends as another period of tension with Iraq started to build once again. Though Giuliani wasn’t interested in the friendship, Ted Koppel was quick to take Saddam up on his offer to hang out as besties.
  4. We then got a Thanksgiving sketch where Giuliani played the mother of Cheri Oteri’s, “I keep it now,” Rita DelVecchio character so that the two could prepare their family’s Thanksgiving dinner while constantly being interrupted by her family’s kids who keep checking in for updates on the holiday dinner. They also get interrupted by the neighborhood kids from time to time.
  5. St. Monica's Spelling Bee was actually a Mary Katherine Gallagher sketch where the nervous Catholic School girl competed in a spelling bee. Halfway through Mary Katherine’s attempt to spell her word, she broke into a monolog as if she were taking advantage of the stage time to audition for a play. Really, she was just filling time while she thought how to spell her word.
  6. Graffiti was a sketch that showed us, Giuliani, as he enforced his new stricter punishment for graffiti artists who vandalize New York City. This new punishment consists of adding the word, “SUCKS” right under the artist’s signature/tag.
  7. Once again, Norm MacDonald gave us the news. This week, Ana Gasteyer dropped in as her folk singing character, Cinder Calhoun to sing the song Basted In Blood with musical guest, Sarah McLachlan.
  8. Sarah McLachlan then took to the news to perform Sweet Surrender.
  9. The Joe Pesci Show then returned for more Pesci fun where this time, the guest being harassed were Giuliani as himself, and Tracy Morgan as Marion Berry where the joke was that Giuliani was cutting New York’s ties with the mob and ended up having his security takedown Pesci to show that he was the alpha male.
  10. Friggin' Giuliani! was a sketch where Giuliani played a New York City cab driver who was outraged over the way that the Mayor (himself) was going about cleaning things up in NYC and how he preferred a city filled with porn.
  11. Janet Reno's Dance Party then returned for another installment of Reno’s impromptu interview show/basement dance party. Once again, this was more of the same only Will Ferrell as Reno got to joke with a legitimate politician with Giuliani playing himself whole the confused kids who just wanted to dance had to sit through their political talk.
  12. This was followed by another installment of Colin Quinn Explains The New York Times where once again, Colin Quinn broke down some of the latest New York Times headlines.
  13. It then became 4:45 in the AM which meant it was time for Perspectives where this time host, Lionel Osborne interviewed the Giuliani as himself in an effort to drum up some votes but unfortunately this fiction episode of this late night talk show was postponed until after the election. As always, Lionel Osborne was oblivious to this fact along with all of the other points that Giuliani was trying to promote.
  14. Finally, Rudy Giuliani closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

As I said up above, I was surprised to find this to be my favorite episode so far this season, but it was pretty fun thanks to these three of my favorite moments of the night. First, I loved Thanksgiving At The DelVecchio’s not only because I love the “I keep it now” character, but Giuliani also made a pretty funny grandma. Next, I really liked this week’s Janet Reno’s Dance Party which is a sketch that I don’t often like but I do love Will Ferrell’s Janet Reno portrayal and when he as she started to box Giuliani, it legitimately got me to laugh out loud. Finally, I was a fan of the Graffiti sketch because even though it was simple I like the filmed telling of the joke where you just add the word “SUCKS” or other insults to the end of a piece of graffiti to make it a dig at the artist.

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Matt Bunker

I started out with a goal of becoming a paid screenwriter. I had no interest in any other aspect of filmmaking. I received and scholarship to The Vancouver Film School's Writing for Film and Television program where I graduated in 2005. I fell in love with being on set during my first non-school produced short, . I loved being around all the creative people, seeing people having fun while working. The whole liking your job was a new world to me, so I decided to give it a shot. I volunteered for any project I could, doing what ever was needed. The set was my Film School this time. While working as a PA on a feature I was informed that the DP wanted the three tallest PAs to help out in the grip and electric department. That is when I found the department that felt like the best fit for me while I continued to write.