Monday, September 15, 2008

Laughing to the White House

So, two big events this weekend. First, Sarah Palin's interview on ABC. Second, and perhaps more important, the parody of Palin on Saturday Night Live, which can be found by clicking here.

Parodying political figures and events is nothing new, but we seem to be at a period in time where programs like "The Daily Show," "The Colbert Report," and "Real Time with Bill Maher" are scoring major ratings. That brings me to this week's questions.

1. What do you think about the Palin parody that i linked above? Do you think it's funny, unfair, important, etc? Do you think political parody serves an important function in society?

2. What's your favorite political parody (a cartoon, a sketch, etc.) and where did you see it (Saturday Night Live, a magazine, a newspaper, another TV show)? Why was it your favorite?

Remember, give me two paragraphs.

And finally, i want you to google the following terms "Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal". You don't have to write anything about what you find. I just want to show you that political parody and protest have been around for awhile. If Swift were alive today, he'd be a regular on The Daily Show.


Mike Tullis said...

I didn't find the clip all that funny. Not because of the content, but because it just wasn't funny. Then again I don't find much funny on SNL these days. I think that parody is an important part of our right to free speech. Without the ability to criticize and poke fun at our leaders and show that they are human too, we lose the ability to illustrate that they are in fact as fallible as the rest of us. That sets a dangerous precedent in that society would then not question any judgment or decision by those in power simply because of their godlike position.

My recent favorite parody deals with the changing views of the first amendment as seen by various generations. I found it perusing the boards of a political commentary website. The things I like most about parodies are the touch of truth associated with them and the fact that they make people think. Well, they make the type of people that would view a political parody cartoon think.

Link to the cartoon:

Sandy Ward said...

While Saturday Night Live are the masters of making fun of just about every celebrity or public figure around, I agree with Mike that it really was not that funny. It was a little bit amazing though how much the actress that played Governor Palin looked like her and how she picked up on her speech and mannerisms. I think as long as it is done in the respect of entertainment versus an attack there is nothing wrong with the skits.

My favorite political parody of late is one I watched on Fox of Paris Hilton’s response to John McCain’s ad where he refers to her and Britney Spears as being World celebrities. Her response was immediate and very funny. She is sitting in a lawn chair in a bikini and says, “But then that wrinkly, white haired guy used me in his campaign ad, which I guess means I am running for President. Thanks for the endorsement white haired dude.” I am not a big Paris Hilton fan, but really feel her PR people hit a home run with this short ad.

Caroline said...

I think that the Palin parody is very funny. I believe that making fun of politicians has become part of our culture as Americans. When someone chooses to be in the public eye, such as Palin and Hillary Clinton, they have to expect there will be some criticism towards them. I believe that political parodies do serve an important function in the USA, because some people might not care at all about the election but if they watch Saturday Night Live it is put right in front of their face.
I don’t really have a favorite parody because I don’t normally watch the shows you discussed above. But, I did research and find a few funny you tube videos that kept me very entertained. The one I enjoyed the most was a cartoon of Obama and Hillary singing the song “Anything you can do, I can do better.” It was funny because they were arguing on their policies and who could do what better. It went into detail about each issue and how they would handle it to a certain funny extent; which as I said earlier all is a price to pay with the public eye.

The You Tube I liked: Obama on the run

Rebekah said...

i thought the clip was hilarious. The actress the had playing Palin looked just like her. I think that as long as the parodies are meant to be funny that they are ok. I just goes to show that no matter who you are if you are in the public eye someone will make fun of you. I don't think the parodies serve an important function in society because they are meant to be funny.

As far as having a favorite parody of a political figure, I do not have much time to watch these type of shows. I think one of the funniest i saw was on Abraham Linclon on "The Whitest Kids You Know." It puts a twist on the events surrounding Linclon's death. I thought it was pretty funny in a really messed up way. I wouldn't say that it was my favorite, but it did make me laugh.

The clip can be found on Youtube. Sorry i don't have the web address.

cheriem said...

I agree with Mike that SNL is just not as funny as it used to be. I think that the actress that impersonated Governor Palin did a good job. The actress playing Senator Clinton didn't impress me. I think making light of politicians is fun and lightens the tension in society which arises from never ending politcal commercialism.

My favorite political parody is an older one. Chevy Chase used to portray Gerald Ford who apparently was very clumsy. On SNL they used to show him falling down everywhere. Those were the good old days of SNL.

Torie Thacker said...

I honestly believe that the parody was poking more fun of Hillary Clinton than it was Sarah Palin. Yes, both had jokes about one another but there were more jokes toward Clinton. I believe that they television shows that run parodys like these are just doing so in a fun nature, joking way and that society should not think of them too seriously.

My favorite political parody that I have seen came from somewhere on the internet. I do not know which website that I seen it but I think it may have been a Facebook bumper sticker. It was a picture of the Chuckie doll right beside of a screaming Hillary Clinton. It just makes me laugh because you can honestly see a resemblance between the two.

Sandy Ward said...

Caroline, that YouTube link to "Anything you can do I can do better" was hysterical. I used to live near the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse and remember that song from "Annie Get Your Gun"

Thanks for sharing that.

Jamayel Smith said...

I feel the parody about Sarah Palin was solely based on entertainment on a relevant issue going on in the media right now. I think it shouldn't be taken in a literal since but only for enjoyment.I actually thought it was funny but I don't feel it should be depicted for more than what it is.

One of my favorite political parodies would have to be a picture with Bill Clinton with a suit on but he was missing his pants. The cartoon was referencing the scandal with Monica Lewinsky. It was hilarious when I first saw it. I saw it as only entertainment because this didn't retract from him doing a good job as being president. Therefore, humor shouldn't be taken seriously but as only entertaining.

Kayla Roberts said...

I did not think the clip was funny. I usually don't watch SNL or shows like that because I usually don't get the jokes or they are just dumb to me. I don't think it was important by any means. I just think it's people on television trying to make money so they make fun of others. If that is what they want to do then fine but I didn't find it interesting at all.

As for my favorite political parody, I don't have one. I looked up stuff on youtube but nothing made me even smile. I guess just bumper stickers on facebook that say nobama and stuff like that.

Lynsee said...

I found the SNL parody hilarious. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are usually funny regardless. Although I found this particular pairing quite perfect. Political parody is an important part of each presidential campaign. It points out the humanity of individual candidate. If a candidate responsed aggresively, they are viewed in a poor light with the 18-35 year olds. However, if they poke fun at themselves about the parody, they are seen to be more fun.

My favorite political parody is hard to say. I am huge fan of all of them. Dana Carvey as President Bush, Phil Hartman as Bill Clinton, the list is endless. I may have to put the Palin/Clinton parody at the top though for it's historical significance. If there were no women of great importance in the election, the show would not have been able to make fun of them. So this skit might go down in history just for that reason alone.

Rani said...

The actress looked just like Palin, and I think it was funny. Everyone in the public eye, is made fun of for things they say or do. It is advertised on tv or the internet for everyone view and make fun of people. Another thing is that women in politics should know that they are targeted for the humuliation. I personally do not think that parodies are important in society because they are just trying to crack jokes on the latest public figure.

I watched Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton sing Anything You Can Do
I Can Do Better, I thought it was funny. They were arguing about who could do better with certain political issues. I do not watch any of the shows of things like You Tube so I had to go find this on the internet. I think most of the paradoies are funny, I just do not have time to watch tv or look on you tube.

The You Tube I found funny: Obama on the run

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the Sarah Palin parody. I thought it was both funny and fair. Plus, Tina Fey's resemblance to Sarah Palin is remarkable. I feel that this parody is not a "jab" at either Palin or Clinton. Rather, I feel that this is "jab" at the media and how the media present or report on candidates, particularly in this election. In this election, the media presents the candidates not as political figures, but as celebrities. In fact, this parody reminds me of another SNL parody a few months back, where reporters presented Barack Obama as this "God-like" figure. I think this political parody serves an important function in society, because it is also a parody of the media and how it sets an "agenda" to how we view politics, or our political leaders.

I do not have a favorite political parody. I do enjoy the George W. Bush skits on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The impersonator does a good job. I also appreciate the impersonations on SNL, such as Tina Fey's impersonation of Palin. I also enjoyed the Barack Obama parody that I discussed in the previous paragraph. I don't think I have seen a political parody that I have not enjoyed, because I like the idea of them.

Annie Bolduc said...

Well, before I start anything, I do have to say that the video was quite interesting. Funny? I didn't think so though? Why? Well because, and that is only my opinion, I feel that all those parodies are getting very redundant. It is always the same types of jokes, the same people that are made fun of, and personally I find it rather boring. Though, if they keep making parodies like this one, it is probably because a lot of people enjoy it. This video was very simple minded and more stupid than funny. But like I said, maybe if it was the first parody I ever saw, I would have found it hilarious. I just think it's over done, and I wish people would start being more original.

My favorite political parody? Well that is definitely a hard question because I do not watch a lot of television. I do like the Colbert Report show because of his sarcasm. I don't have a favorite parody in mind, because I can't remember one in particular, but I really liked the show on wednesday night where they were talking about the economic crisis. They made fun of everyone, not just one person in particular, and it was funny because everybody was contradicting themselves. I guess my favorite parodies are the ones that show them making mistakes, instead of inventing or insulting them. It shows the irony of politics, and I guess that is why I like that particular show.

Marc said...

I thought the clip was very funny. I think sometimes during the political races, a sense of humor can go a long way. I think it is important that show such as Saturday Night Live and The Colbert Report air, because they bring interest to some that may not know much about the races. I also think it is important that the shows don't show support to one party or the other.

My favorite parodies that I can remember would be the ones of Bush and Clinton on SNL. They always seemed to be funny. even though I didn't always agree with what they were making fun of, I always laughed. SNL did a great job of finding comedians and actors to portray these two politcal figures.

Marc Hearst

heather b said...

I did not really have to much of a opinion about the clip. I mean I first of all am not really into that kind of humor because sometimes it can be really funny and sometimes it is not funny at all. I didn't have anything against it though because I think it is okay to make light of usually serious situations every once in a while.
I also liked the political parody that invovled Paris Hilton responding to McCain. It is always funny when you see an older guy trying to be more involved with the younger generation when he would probably be better of not trying to communicate with them.

William said...

As with most SNL skits it was funny in an SNL sort of way. Political parody is very much a part of our culture. I will not criticize the skit simply because the basis of political parody is a right of free speech, which some citizens in other nations would view not as a right but as a privelege. However, I would like to add that these sort of parodies, even though made in jest, can damage a person's reputation. And based on comments quoted from Chevy Chase this was the intent of the Palin skit. We should not ignor the political signifigance this can have on viewers. Especially, the typical teen and twenty-something audience of SNL. I am not dissing this age group I am merely stating from experience how seemingly harmless material can be influential to those less informed.

Other than sports programs I seldom watch television. So I have not viewed any other parody skits here lately. I have viewed the Dish Network commercials hundreds of times. These typically feature a person impersonating Bush's lack of intelligence and Bill Clinton's permiscuious behavior. The fact that Bill Clinton's sexual excapades are still in the limelight is an example of how embedded in our culture these parodies can become. Although Clinton's indulgence was more than enough to make every major headline, it was, and still is, the attention from parody skits that refuse to let this incident be forgotten. So following the election, regardless of its results, whenever Palin is mentioned will you remember the speech "she" gave at the RNC or the short skit demeaning her character from SNL?

Matt Middleton said...

I found the Palin/Clinton SNL skit very funny. Tina Fey played the Sarah Palin role perfectly from the near-perfect accent to the almost identical looks. Amy Poehler also did a good job as Hillary Clinton, but was somewhat overshadowed by Fey's representation of Sarah Palin. As long as these parodies are done for entertainment purposes, I see no harm in them. They simply lighten the atmosphere of current political issues, and may actually draw interest to Americans who may not have cared beforehand.

A few months ago, I saw a Barack Obama and Oprah skit on MADtv that i found very funny. Frank Caliendo's impression of George Bush is probably my favorite though. Caliendo uses ridiculous vocabulary and euphemisms that you actually could imagine George Bush using.

Paula said...

I enjoyed the clip and Tina Fey's impression of Sarah Palin, and thought that it outshined Amy Poehler's impression of Hillary, which I'm now wondering if that was also intentional. An artist friend of mine a few years ago told me that he was seriously thinking of doing political satire in the newspaper to get his opinion out on several matters of growing importance to him. This is what satire and parody allows us to put voice to our opinions, practice our freedoms. And you as observer, have the option to ignore it, or listen for what it is saying to you. You also have the chance to see people on pedestals (for the sometimes most obscure reasons) seen in a different light. I've been watching SNL for awhile now, and am always interested to see what path these people have taken over the years. Viewed from angles other than their comedy, these are people who take their craft and their world much more seriously than they sometimes appear.

I can't say that I have a favorite parody, though I enjoyed Dana Carvey as Bush, and enjoy all the Dish Network commercials with Frank Caliendo, simply because he's good at what he does, in my opinion.

Sabrina said...

I thought the Palin parady was funny. I found it to be very humorous. I did not think it was offensive. That is the whole idea of SNL, is to make people laugh.

As far as having a favorite parody, I don't. I have seen some on SNL, like the George Bush impersonator. But I don't really have a favorite parody.

Matthew & Ashley said...

Although I have liked Tina Fey and Saturday Night Live for a long time, this particular parody wasn't all that funny to me. It had its moments more from the body language used by Fey than the actual comments made by either actor. Parodies definitely have their place in our society and should be done to exercise our right to freedom of speech. The reason politicians get the brunt of most of these is because of their choice to be a public figure. This puts more of their life out in the open so and garners more attention than needed or wanted at many times.

I can't really think about any favorite parody due to the fact that I don't watch much television or at least those particular type of shows. One show that comes to mind would be "Little Bush" on Comedy Central which portrays the Bush administration as children. The show plays on the opinion about Bush and his lack of proper grammar along with his cabinet's actions as well. It's funny to me because of the predicaments the kids get into and the way they use ingenious mischief to get out.

Anonymous said...

I thought the parody of Palin and Clinton was pretty funny. However, it seemed to me that Hilary Clinton was being made fun of more so than Palin. I think these types of skits are made to be funny and nothing more. I'm sure they touch the nerves of some people, but being in the public eye can put those people at the mercy of others.

I don't normally watch SNL so I don't have a favorite skit to mention nor do I recall any other forms of parody that have stayed in my mind.

Anonymous said...

I thought that the SNL skit was quite funny. The actress who portrayed Governor Palin did an excellent job. Skits like these are light hearted and are for the purpose of entertainment. I do not think they are unfair to politicians because once a person chooses to go into public service this is just part of it.

I honestly do not have a favorite political parody. When I see something in the newspaper or on TV I may laugh, but then I move on and don’t think about it again.

Christen Reeves

STACIES77 said...

I found the Saturday Night Live parody of Palin, not amusing at all. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are dim-witted actresses trying to make a dollar! I am all about humor, but I don't think it's funny when our political leaders are the brunt of the jokes.

In my opinion, it is one thing to state the facts about the political leaders, but another ball game entirely when they are in costume making fun of them. Afterall, that is what Hollywood actresses such at Britney Spears and Paris Hilton are for.

My recent parody is that of Obama that stated "Change" because that is all you'll have when Obama is done!