SNL producer: Republicans are good at taking a joke, Democrats take it personally

posted at 6:01 pm on February 3, 2014 by Allahpundit

Interesting if true. Is it?

Are there any basic rules for what works and what doesn’t politically?
Republicans are easier for us than Democrats. Democrats tend to take it personally; Republicans think it’s funny. But we’re not sitting here every week going, “We’ve really got to do the First Family.” This week, our cold open is about three big stories. We have Piers Morgan interviewing A-Rod, Chris Christie, and Justin Bieber. We’re doing more of that kind of thing than stuff about Benghazi or the new budget agreement. The country has lost interest in it. I can’t tell you why. It’s no less important, but in some way you can’t do health care more than twice, at which point there’s just nothing left. But Jay Pharoah does a really good Obama…

[W]e’ve never been agenda people. Our job—and it sounds too grand to say and none of us ever say it—is speaking truth to power. I’m registered as an Independent, not because everything that we do would be undermined if we were partisan—Jon Stewart has that role. Us? Theoretically, whoever it is in power, we’re against them.

Are Republicans better at taking a joke or are they just more diligent about laughing it off when they’re in Lorne’s presence? I’ve never seen a detailed analysis of how many conservatives get hit on SNL versus how many liberals, but the public widely assumes, I think, that the right gets it worse than the left. Partly that’s because the right gets it worse from comedians generally and partly it’s because the last few political impersonations on SNL to really take off culturally were Republicans, namely, Bush and Palin. The actual numbers don’t matter here, though; it’s the perception that counts. If you’re a Republican and you perceive that SNL leans a bit left, it’s in your interest to laugh off the jokes when you’re around the producer. If you don’t, he might decide to goof on you more. Taking the high road is a way to keep your head down and to seem magnanimous. If you’re a Democrat, the calculus may be different: You’re confident that the show’s left-leaning writers won’t turn you into a running gag so you feel safer telling Lorne to get bent. You may even feel genuinely betrayed. Democrats take for granted that the entertainment industry is on their side and that it’s an asset in winning cultural battles with the right, so when a show with a media profile as high as SNL’s goes after them, it may hurt more because it feels like a knife in the back. A knife in the front should hurt just as much in theory, but there’s an honor to the latter that the former lacks.

Which is not to say that the different reactions are always strategic and all for show. It may be that Republicans really have grown a thicker skin over time because they’ve come to believe they’ll never get a fair shake from the media. Case in point: The Christie/Bridgegate feeding frenzy. If you’re trying to contain a media inferno over the accusations, some of which have fallen apart and others which are being overhyped by breathless reporters, who cares if SNL does a three-minute gag of a fat guy sweating through over-the-top lies at a fake presser that’ll be forgotten 20 minutes after it airs? You’ve got bigger problems with MSNBC and the NYT. The weird thing about Democrats taking special affront at SNL gags is that they’re the ones who are supposed to be tuned into pop culture and yet it’s been five years at least since the show scored any solid shots on a politician. Maybe that’s because they’re pulling their punches with the Dems in power, but I don’t think so. I think they’re just not in the heavyweight class anymore. I’d be curious to hear what sort of feedback Jon Stewart, who is in that class, gets from the two sides. We’re four days removed from that Pelosi car-crash last week and I’ll bet Democrats are still grousing at him over it.


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In other words – Dems are thin-skinned – as demonstrated daily by their messiah…

dentarthurdent on February 3, 2014 at 6:04 PM

SNL Producer: In addition, Republicans are evil. Democrats are kind hearted but stupid. Did I say Republicans are evil?

Oil Can on February 3, 2014 at 6:06 PM

Are there any basic rules for what works and what doesn’t politically?

Yes – watch anything but SNL if you actually want a good laugh.

somewhatconcerned on February 3, 2014 at 6:06 PM

In a similar vein…
Orthodox Christians practice tolerance much better than other populations, why we put up with so much ridicule (and often worse) that others would blow gaskets over.

22044 on February 3, 2014 at 6:06 PM

That’s funny because I’ve seen a few threads on the Coke ad, with liberals asking each other “When aren’t conservatives outraged?”

Axeman on February 3, 2014 at 6:08 PM

How the heck do you make jokes based on lies? Humor usually has a reference of truth to work off of. That pretty well isolates the dems from humor. Just look at the way they carry themselves.

DanMan on February 3, 2014 at 6:09 PM

Democrats tend to take it personally

And will sic the IRS, AFT, EPA, OSHA, et al., on you.

rbj on February 3, 2014 at 6:10 PM

Andrew Breitbart tried to get conservatives & the GOP to realize that “politics is downstream of culture”.

I think Sarah Palin is the only one who gets this. This is why they fear and loath her and she had to be destroyed.

Cruz may get it; so might Rand Paul.

Boner is hopeless.

Bruno Strozek on February 3, 2014 at 6:10 PM

Andrew Breitbart tried to get conservatives & the GOP to realize that “politics is downstream of culture”.

I think Sarah Palin is the only one who gets this. This is why they fear and loath her and she had to be destroyed.

Cruz may get it; so might Rand Paul.

Boner is hopeless.

Bruno Strozek on February 3, 2014 at 6:10 PM

Well said…

22044 on February 3, 2014 at 6:13 PM

It’s no less important, but in some way you can’t do health care more than twice, at which point there’s just nothing left. But Jay Pharoah does a really good Obama…

[W]e’ve never been agenda people. Our job—and it sounds too grand to say and none of us ever say it—is speaking truth to power.

I am tossing the B$ flag on this. They did the Sarah Palin bit to death, week after week for six weeks. Heck they even had her on the show.

And speaking truth to power? Please……

Johnnyreb on February 3, 2014 at 6:15 PM

Liars!

“Theoretically, whoever it is in power, we’re against them.”

wyntre9 on February 3, 2014 at 6:17 PM

Maybe that’s because they’re pulling their punches with the Dems in power, but I don’t think so. I think they’re just not in the heavyweight class anymore.

Trust me, it has something to do with Democrats.

rob verdi on February 3, 2014 at 6:18 PM

Gee, that explains why I haven’t watched SNL in more than 20 years.

I guess I took it personal.

Meople on February 3, 2014 at 6:18 PM

Quite possibly the most overrated TV show in American history. There’s nothing quite like taking something that might be mildly amusing for 30 seconds and beating it to death for 5 minutes. But Phil Hartman’s Bill Clinton was great.

Flange on February 3, 2014 at 6:18 PM

As my momma used to say: That fella is full of more shit than a Christmas turkey. SNL’s writers are democrats. The producers are democrats. The actors are democrats. And their collective goal is to advance the democrat-socialist agenda. Being funny comes in at a distant, distant second to serving the democrat party, too distant for me. SNL has been breaking the first rule of comedy for more than 20 years: It isn’t funny. Propaganda rarely is.

If anyone were ripe for brutal, hilarious satire, it’s a vainglorious, thin-skinned, quasi-homosexual, incompetent president who pretends he’s an athlete and throws like a girl, calls himself a “Constitutional law professor” and hasn’t a clue what’s in the Constitution, preaches about “inequality” and takes $5 million month-long Hawaiian vacations, promises “transparency” while keeping every fact of his past under strict lock and key, talks “brotherhood” as his relatives live in mud huts in Kenya and government projects in the US, and is married to an angry she-man grifter who lectures about healthy eating while shoveling food into her face like a 5-year-old at the county fair.

The jokes just write themselves. Or they would, if anyone at SNL could see the irony in a take-it-to-the-edge satirical show being so protective of its sacred cows that it won’t go there.

Rational Thought on February 3, 2014 at 6:21 PM

In other words the right is more sophisticated than the left, go figure…the irony.

Also, progressivism kills

Schadenfreude on February 3, 2014 at 6:21 PM

Phil Hartman was a victim of Domestic Violence. Shot to death in his sleep by his wife.

You don’t hear about this much cuz it upsets The Narrative.

Bruno Strozek on February 3, 2014 at 6:25 PM

In other words the right is more sophisticated than the left, go figure…the irony.

Also, progressivism kills

Schadenfreude on February 3, 2014 at 6:21 PM

C’mon. You know that’s only because conservatives feared black people and left the city without so much as a lifetime supply of blank checks!!

Axeman on February 3, 2014 at 6:25 PM

What is this SNL that you speak of?

Bitter Clinger on February 3, 2014 at 6:25 PM

He’ll play Jeb Bush well.

Schadenfreude on February 3, 2014 at 6:26 PM

I am tossing the B$ flag on this. They did the Sarah Palin bit to death, week after week for six weeks. Heck they even had her on the show.

Johnnyreb on February 3, 2014 at 6:15 PM

Wow just did a quick search, it was 10 bits, not six. Liars!

Johnnyreb on February 3, 2014 at 6:26 PM

RIP:

Joan Mondale, former vice president’s wife who built reputation as arts advocate, has died at age 83- @AP

davidk on February 3, 2014 at 6:26 PM

Hartman was a victim of chronic abuse long before that, but, like many male victims, he had practically nowhere to turn, and male victims were turned into laughingstocks. Things are getting a little better, but little good that will do him now.

bmmg39 on February 3, 2014 at 6:29 PM

That explains why Chris Christie is so sensitive to ridicule.

portlandon on February 3, 2014 at 6:33 PM

Did not Dana Carvey get a personal invite to the White House by Bush 41? Yeah, I believe it that Republicans are good at taking a joke.

Scopper on February 3, 2014 at 6:37 PM

HumourLess Democrats,….who knew!!!!!

canopfor on February 3, 2014 at 6:38 PM

[W]e’ve never been agenda people. Our job—and it sounds too grand to say and none of us ever say it—is speaking truth to power.
=======================================================

Really,…..no agendas!!

canopfor on February 3, 2014 at 6:40 PM

I’ve watched SNL for years and still watch it every weekend. The show’s always been inconsistent, but, for me, it’s worth wasting a bit of time, in spite of the often stupid skits and gags.
That’s the thing, though – it’s a comedy show and not worthy of giving any serious significance. If it’s funny, it’s funny; if not, not. It’s not the death of me or my political ideology if SNL impersonates a politician I don’t feel wholly negative towards.
I think we to the right like to think we cultivate a sense of distance from politicians we vote for while leftists look at their chosen elect as beneficent agents of heavenly good. If you make fun of someone like Obama, a leftist will see that as an affront to his one true purpose, which is making heaven on this earth. we like to quote the gipper, though, and say that the government is not the solution to the problem but rather government is the problem. when you view the role of government in that way, it makes mocking a politician you favor a little easier to stomach.

The Internet on February 3, 2014 at 6:42 PM

If you’re a Democrat, the calculus may be different: You’re confident that the show’s left-leaning writers won’t turn you into a running gag so you feel safer telling Lorne to get bent. You may even feel genuinely betrayed. Democrats take for granted that the entertainment industry is on their side and that it’s an asset in winning cultural battles with the right, so when a show with a media profile as high as SNL’s goes after them, it may hurt more because it feels like a knife in the back. A knife in the front should hurt just as much in theory, but there’s an honor to the latter that the former lacks.

If you are a comedian, writer or producer at SNL chances are that most of your friends, acquaintances, colleagues and co-workers are liberal/progresssive. That means they know you personally, and have your private address, email and phone numbers.

In other words, it really is kinda personal.

myiq2xu on February 3, 2014 at 6:44 PM

Trust me, it has something to do with Democrats.

When a Republican again occupies the White House, there will be a whole lot more jokes on SNL and TDS about the POTUS.

They will be unmerciful.

myiq2xu on February 3, 2014 at 6:48 PM

“Theoretically, whoever it is in power, we’re against them.”

YOU LIE!

Dr. ZhivBlago on February 3, 2014 at 7:14 PM

Theoretically, whoever it is in power, we’re against them.

…impenetrable self-delusion…

Knott Buyinit on February 3, 2014 at 7:21 PM

… Theoretically, whoever it is in power, we’re against them….

In what alternate universe has SNL been for the past 30+ years? They ALWAYS go against Republicans, no matter who’s in charge.

And no one called this sad sack of crap out for the statement?

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canopfor on February 3, 2014 at 7:35 PM

Did not Dana Carvey get a personal invite to the White House by Bush 41? Yeah, I believe it that Republicans are good at taking a joke.

Scopper on February 3, 2014 at 6:37 PM

I bet Will Ferrell would have too if he wasn’t such an a$$. Bush liked the impression but since Ferrell pettily played Bush even after he retired, I’m sure that he made it clear he didn’t want to come to the WH.

thebrokenrattle on February 3, 2014 at 7:37 PM

Allah – why are you buying Lorne’s BS?

He saying Repub’s can take it and Dems can’t as a way to butter up righties. It’s to make them feel magnanimous, because now if they b*tch about the hit, what does it say about them?

He’s a con man with a polished line to coverup what he allowed Ferrell, McKay, Fey and Myers to do; set prog memes. They took SNL way left because that was what Zucker wanted with NBC starting in ’03.

Rightie pundits just don’t get the long con, and that includes MKH. Outside of PJ O’Rourke and Coulter, I cannot think of one who understands the game.

budfox on February 3, 2014 at 7:58 PM

He acts like they have no material to use on Obama because the issue jokes[Obamacare] have run their coarse.

What about a skit or five on Obama as Celebrity in Chief? Obama running through his schedule for the day with his secretary and he ends up with only 10 minutes of actual Presidentin time. Round of golf with Tiger. Hoops with Lebron. Lunch with Beyoncé. Interview with Entertainment Tonight[complains they are so tough on him]. Study time for his future Bracketology picks for the basketball tournament. Not funny? I mean the bit writes itself. But nope, they can’t seem to find humor on that front even though SNL is ALL about celebrity and culture.

They could also do bits on his Marxist past, the teleprompter, his aloofness with everybody. Aloofness with Congress, the press[off air of course, and even Michele]. Nope, can’t find ANY humor there.

KMav on February 3, 2014 at 8:22 PM

If you’re a Democrat, the calculus may be different: You’re confident that the show’s left-leaning writers won’t turn you into a running gag so you feel safer telling Lorne to get bent. You may even feel genuinely betrayed. Democrats take for granted that the entertainment industry is on their side and that it’s an asset in winning cultural battles with the right, so when a show with a media profile as high as SNL’s goes after them, it may hurt more because it feels like a knife in the back. A knife in the front should hurt just as much in theory, but there’s an honor to the latter that the former lacks.

It’s not just comedy where liberals get angry and vindictive over receiving the same treatment as Republicans, it’s any news coverage at all. You just have to look at how the current White House is treating any media members, not just Fox News, who commit actual journalism instead of simply parroting Obama Administration talking points, as was the cause for almost all up until the NSA scandal. The same hold true at the lower levels, such as in Texas, where Wendy Davis and her campaign continue to lash out at the in-state media, following he Dallas Morning News’ report that her alleged life history had few questionable claims.

jon1979 on February 3, 2014 at 8:41 PM

Allah – why are you buying Lorne’s BS?

He saying Repub’s can take it and Dems can’t as a way to butter up righties. It’s to make them feel magnanimous, because now if they b*tch about the hit, what does it say about them?

He’s a con man with a polished line to coverup what he allowed Ferrell, McKay, Fey and Myers to do; set prog memes. They took SNL way left because that was what Zucker wanted with NBC starting in ’03.

Rightie pundits just don’t get the long con, and that includes MKH. Outside of PJ O’Rourke and Coulter, I cannot think of one who understands the game.

budfox on February 3, 2014 at 7:58 PM

And just imagine how worse it will get once Fallon takes over “The Tonight Show,” and Myers takes over “Late Night.” As Lorne will executive produce BOTH shows, filmed at the 30 Rock Echo Chamber.

First thing that comes to mind with Fallon is his “Slow Jamming The News” with Obama.

Myron Falwell on February 3, 2014 at 8:49 PM

If anyone were ripe for brutal, hilarious satire, it’s a vainglorious, thin-skinned, quasi-homosexual, incompetent president who pretends he’s an athlete and throws like a girl, calls himself a “Constitutional law professor” and hasn’t a clue what’s in the Constitution, preaches about “inequality” and takes $5 million month-long Hawaiian vacations, promises “transparency” while keeping every fact of his past under strict lock and key, talks “brotherhood” as his relatives live in mud huts in Kenya and government projects in the US, and is married to an angry she-man grifter who lectures about healthy eating while shoveling food into her face like a 5-year-old at the county fair.

Pure poetry. YOU should be writing for SNL!

What about a skit or five on Obama as Celebrity in Chief? Obama running through his schedule for the day with his secretary and he ends up with only 10 minutes of actual Presidentin time. Round of golf with Tiger. Hoops with Lebron. Lunch with Beyoncé. Interview with Entertainment Tonight[complains they are so tough on him]. Study time for his future Bracketology picks for the basketball tournament. Not funny? I mean the bit writes itself. But nope, they can’t seem to find humor on that front even though SNL is ALL about celebrity and culture.

You too!

Maddie on February 3, 2014 at 9:31 PM

we like to quote the gipper, though, and say that the government is not the solution to the problem but rather government is the problem. when you view the role of government in that way, it makes mocking a politician you favor a little easier to stomach.

The Internet on February 3, 2014 at 6:42 PM

Well, still we’d like to see politicians we don’t like being made fun of; but we know that won’t happen with the lib media complex.

I don’t know why you still watch the show. It’s pretty much a rotting zombie that just keeps going, powered by a nostalgia that thinks Chevy Chase and John Belushi were hilarious. They never were. SCTV was much funnier and almost infinitely more inventive.

ddrintn on February 3, 2014 at 10:17 PM

Republicans are easier for us than Democrats. Democrats tend to take it personally; Republicans think it’s funny.

Translation:

“It’s way, way riskier to ridicule Democrats than Republicans and that’s why we’re always making fun of the GOP.

“Mocking Democrats is sort of like laughing at Muslims — you do it at your own peril. Muslims will take revenge on you with the sword; Democrats will take revenge on you with blistering MSNBC demagoguery, organized boycotts, slashed car tires, smashed living-room windows, federal law-enforcement busts, FCC license revocation, Justice Department inquisitions, and anything else they can think of to bring you to your knees.

“Also, if you write comedy material against Democrats, you get disinvited to speak at school graduations and nobody whose anybody wants you at their cocktail parties or Hamptons holiday weekends.

“So, Republicans, you guys are the safe choice. You’re like the nerd fat kid with glasses and pimples that everybody hates and wants to beat up because it’s so much fun and cathartic. It’s not our fault that you dorks have no self-respect and don’t know how to make us stop our incessant goofing on you.”

FlameWarrior on February 3, 2014 at 10:26 PM

nostalgia that thinks Chevy Chase and John Belushi were hilarious

I disagree – all the original Not for Primetime players were funny, along with a few later ones – Hartman, Carvey

SCTV was much funnier and almost infinitely more inventive.

ddrintn on February 3, 2014 at 10:17 PM

Winner-winner, chicken dinner!

SCTV was much funnier. As was Kids in the Hall. But SCTV was king.

mdenis39 on February 3, 2014 at 11:03 PM

[W]e’ve never been agenda people. Our job—and it sounds too grand to say and none of us ever say it—is speaking truth to power. I’m registered as an Independent, not because everything that we do would be undermined if we were partisan—Jon Stewart has that role. Us? Theoretically, whoever it is in power, we’re against them.

Big Fat Liar!

Dollayo on February 4, 2014 at 12:13 AM

SNL isn’t consistently funny, but it’s hard to do that when you have to produce every week. But most weeks they pick their easy targets including conservatives, gays, drunks and foreigners. So their humor is not exclusively liberal.

In fact, there’s an interview with Jim Carrey where he says the essence of much comedy is bullying … but the audience loves it.

Liberals struggle with humor because they are walking on a knife-edge, as their beliefs constantly battle with the facts, so they are often too fragile to acknowledge reality by laughing at situations that expose their failings. Conservatives spend more time with reality and so are used to its bumps and bruises.

virgo on February 4, 2014 at 3:17 AM

In other words – Dems are thin-skinned – as demonstrated daily by their messiah…

dentarthurdent on February 3, 2014 at 6:04 PM

Thread-winner. Right out of the gate.

Chris of Rights on February 4, 2014 at 9:36 AM

I think part of it is that it’s just really hard to think of ways to lampoon or ridicule yourself. Lampooning someone means that you take something they seriously believe in or something they have done in good faith and you make them look like a comic ass for it.

Let’s take it as a given that the SNL staff are uniformly leftist. It would be all the harder for them to ridicule other leftists because they take the same things seriously.

To turn it around; how would a writer, who is also an NRA Life Member lampoon gun ownership? How would a pro-lifer ridicule National Right to Life? Not only would they not naturally think of doing it, if ordered to write such a script, their minds would likely be blank.

Theres lots of reasons – I don’t doubt many of those expressed here – but I think this is also one of them.

Cricket624 on February 4, 2014 at 9:53 AM