Hey, SNL: the 1990s called and they want their lame gay jokes back!
Saturday Night Live (NBC) opened this weekend with a skit in which Abby Elliott impersonated Rachel Maddow interviewing the recently impeached Illinois Gov Blagojevich, and his Senate pick, Roland Burris, on her MSNBC talk show.
Watch the sketch here (or on NBC.com):
Rachel has clearly arrived on the public stage if SNL is spoofing her. But Elliott’s impersonation of Maddow wasn’t very good, neither were the impressions of Burris and Blagojevich (although the impersonation of Blagojevich’s hair made me laugh), and the skit was too long and too boring.
When SNL wrote a sketch starring Ben Affleck as Keith Olbermann, Maddow’s friend and fellow political talk show host, they made fun of Keith’s mannerisms, his over-the-top presentation style, and the extremity of his opinions.
The only thing the writers could come up with to make fun of Rachel Maddow about is the fact that she’s openly gay.
That’s it, that’s the punchline. It’s 2009, and apparently, just being gay is still funny.
I’ll admit, I chuckled at the beginning — I can appreciate the occasional well-placed Ellen or Billy Jean King reference as much as the next person — but by the fourth or fifth gay joke ("I’m stuck here like a dutch boy with his thumb in a dike”), I wasn’t laughing anymore.
"Dike" = Dyke, get it? And "Chachi" = that dumb guy on Happy Days = Rachel looks like a guy. Rachel is gay! And butch! And gay! Isn’t that hilarious?!
The SNL writers found plenty to skewer in the Suze Orman sketch earlier this season besides Suze’s sexual orientation, and the Ellen Page "primo lesbian" sketch last March included some lesbian stereotypes, but it was funny and subversive, too.
I can think of a few things just off the top of my head to make fun of Rachel Maddow about (in a good way), besides her sexual orientation: How about her geeky jokes? Her "because someone has to do it" introduction to the Lame Duck Watch segment? Her infamous smackdown with David Frum? Or the fact that she only has three outfits (and doesn’t care)?
But instead, we got one long "she’s so gay!" sketch. Which is so 16-year-old-boy, and makes me wonder if the SNL writers have ever actually watched her show.
Is the Rachel Maddow skit homophobic? Eh, that’s debatable. Is it boring, juvenile, and one-dimensional? Definitely.
But I suppose the skit’s lameness is a testament to Maddow: when the only thing an entire team of comedy writers can spoof about you is your sexual orientation, keep doing whatever you’re doing — you’re clearly doing it right!
P.S. Hey, SNL: when the only thing an entire team of comedy writers can spoof about a public figure is their sexual orientation, stop doing whatever you’re doing — you’re clearly doing it wrong. It’s time to fire the writing staff and just start over, this time with fewer people who write like Chachi, and more who write like Ellen.