SNL: S10E03... DATE: JESSE JACKSON... DATE: OCTOBER 20, 1984

or...

A Politician Wanting To Talk Politics...

Could You Image That? 

Keeping in mind that I was eight-years-old at the time that this episode originally aired but I never realized that Jesse Jackson got close as he actually did to becoming the first black president of the United State. My age alone leads to many blind spots when it comes to fully understanding the current events from this time but my family also has always avoided talking about the big topics of life like politics, religion, and whether or not Santa is real.

I do know that my grandparents were all extremely conservative which I feel led my entire family to vote down the Republican line without the need of much information that I might have picked up through grown up talk. Because of this lack of outside input, I had to resort to comedy for most of my life to provide me with political insights and by that time that interest set in, Jesse Jackson was more of a joke who ran every year despite the fact that he would never win.

This is why I was super surprised with last season's call-in poll for who should be the Democratic candidate, where before ZZ Top was added to the mix, the Reverend Jesse Jackson was winning by far and ended the night in with a close second place to the novelty vote no comedy fan could resist. 

With this new bit of information, my interest in Jesse Jackson was piqued which made me interested in checking out this episode and I have to admit, he may have actually won me over not really for his comedy skills but I'm now far more impressed with at least his early days in politics at least to the point where I'm now interested in checking out what he actually stood for and may check out a documentary or two about the '84 Election.

To be honest, I was never really able to follow his political stance even in his later political career when I was open to listening to everyone to keep up with the late night jokes. The problem was, even at this later point in the game, the lifelong atheist in me made it hard to get past the religious tone of his speech so I just saw him as a late night punching bag character who I never thought had a chance to win.

Though I do feel a little bad looking back at how I came to my conclusions about Reverend Jackson, I still don't really know what he stood/stands for but I do really like how throughout this entire episode he would crowbar in his platform even if it was at expense of the joke he was trying to sell. I couldn't imagine this type of appearance in the age of entertainment first and what I stand for later when it comes to seeing a politician on a satirical show.

Alright, enough with my political ramblings, it's now time to move on and share what I saw as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with a parody of the Godfather where Jesse Jackson asks the Godfather version of "Sammy Davis Jr." for some advice about hosting the show as a very serious politician who doesn't want to let down a comedy crowd. He seeks Sammy's advice because he represents the entire Rainbow Coalition in just one man. Sammy tells him to try some impressions which he does, then there is a bit of a song and dance leading to the announcement of, "Live from New York..."
  2. Jesse Jackson then officially opened the show with a monolog about his choice to host the show while there is still campaigning to be done and says how he wants to show a little of his lighter side before going into details about his political career that led him to run for president. His monolog is then interrupted by a technical glitch which sends him back to the production booth to where all the white crew is swapped out by random black staff who were hired to trick Jesse that the show is more multi-cultural.   
  3. You Know What I Hate? then made its debut by introducing us to Billy Crystal and Christopher Guest's characters who trade off random things that they hate as they ride up to their workplace in a very slow elevator and their examples get weirder and weirder.
  4. The Question is Moot! is a game show sketch where Jesse Jackson plays the host who dismisses everything that the contestants have to say about anything because the world is doomed due to the current state of political affairs.
  5. We then went to a PSA to warn about the dangers of Refrigerator Magnets when we see Mary Gross's "son" complaining about a stomach ache right before it's revealed that there are metal dishes stuck to his stomach and several refrigerator magnets are gone.
  6. Billy Crystal then shows up to a couple's house with sad news that their son has died at the manufacturing plant and that he has his head in a bowling bag. This gets the couple so freaked out until Billy Crystal announces "Just Kidding!" He then goes back and forth between claiming to be kidding to claims that he's telling the truth ala The Boy Who Cried Wolf only it ends with Billy getting shot for being so obnoxious. 
  7. Ed Grimley then returned, this time he's the last passenger to be seated on a plane who gets the seat right next to Jesse Jackson who just wants to use the extra-long flight as an excuse to fit in some sleep but Ed Grimley is too excited about his Wheel Of Fortune appearance that he landed during last week's episode. This goes on for a while until the sketch evolves into a parody of The Twilight Zone, "There's a man on the wing," episode. At the end of the sketch, Jesse takes issue with the bit and goes back to the production booth where once again we see the white crew get swapped out for the untrained black staff.
  8. Tippi Turtle also returned with another tip on how to bother people. This week's suggestion is to go to a card store, purchase several cards with built-in speakers that play music, rip said speakers out and hide them in people things to drive them crazy with all the noise.
  9. Wrong Voice, Right Face was a parody ad for the latest Billy Idol album that makes for of the fact that he has a punk face that totally fits with modern trends but the voice of a singer from the '40s.  
  10. Jesse Jackson then got a serious segment where he admits to being in on the joke and how the black people in the control room were only hired for a joke. He then goes on to discuss how the show should be more diverse after sharing several stories about funny black people he knows in real life and then puts a call out to the black audience members to write in and apply to be on the show for what I hope is a future rating stunt.
  11. This week, Jesse Jackson was our guest host of the news where he pretty much continues to push his political agenda which comes across as sell-promoting but I kind of like how blatant he is as opposed to the passive-aggressive political promotion that I'm completely over these days. If anything I appreciate that he has a solid political stance that he can actually express. Martin Show then got a segment to provide the balanced counterpoint and as nervous as Short acts he has some valid points. Jim Belushi then wrapped up the news as his horrible rapping character who has a rap off with Mr. Jackson.
  12. Andrae Crouch then took to the stage to perform Right Now. 
  13. Jesse Jackson then breaks from his purely political self to make a more obvious joke of an announcement that the true reason he is running is that he has a Love Jones for Jeanne Kirkpatrick then follows it up with a couple example of why he fell in love. 
  14. Rich Hall then got his own special segment of the news for one of his investigative Election Report where he has a lunch interview with the Chairman of the League of Undecided Voters who can't make up his mind on anything. 
  15. The Rich Hall segment then transitioned directly into "Mr. Blackwell's" segment on the Soap Opera Digest Awards where he breaks down everyone's look.  
  16. Jesse Jackson then took to the stage to talk about the Rainbow Coalition and how welcoming the group really is but then runs down a comical list of people who he actually wouldn't let in. 
  17. Wintley Phipps then took to the stage to perform Tell Me Again.
  18. Finally, Jesse Jackson makes one more pitch for his presidency before closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights followed by a religious performance from a choir. 

Don't get me wrong, I actually did see a fun side to Jesse Jackson but even his jokes intentionally straight to the point where most of this episode came off a little boring but these were my favorite moments. First, I loved Rich Hall's interviews with The Chairman Of The League of Undecided Voters because it reminds me of Rich Hall's new line of documentaries that I absolutely love. Next, I really liked Jesse Jackson's segment where he listed the people he wouldn't allow in the Rainbow Coalition because it was such a funny list. Finally, I was a fan of the introduction of the, "You know what I hate," characters because like Ed Grimley, I know I'm eventually going to get annoyed by them because of how played out the idea has become over time but there is a reason it became popular enough to get to the point where it was overused so they at least deserve this first mention.

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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.