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Viewers Flock to Comedy Shows for Dose of Campaign Humor

Sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live has seen its ratings soar in recent weeks as viewers have tuned in to watch skits about political candidates and campaigns. SNL executive producer Lorne Michaels and head writer Seth Meyers discuss political comedy.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Late-night comedy shows have long been places for candidates to be seen and to be skewered. And this year is no exception.

    Here's a clip from last weekend's "Saturday Night Live" skit poking fun at Obama's infomercial.

  • TV NARRATOR:

    And now a message from Barack and Michelle Obama.

    FRED ARMISEN, "Saturday Night Live" Cast Member: Good evening, my fellow Americans. I am Barack Obama, and this is my wife, Michelle. This coming Wednesday, our campaign will run a special 30-minute address on all four major networks.

    MAYA RUDOLPH, "Saturday Night Live" Cast Member: This airtime was initially purchased so that we could speak to you one last time about the issues.

  • FRED ARMISEN:

    However, with poll numbers putting us so far ahead, we decided now's a time to play it safe.

  • MAYA RUDOLPH:

    Instead of a conventional address, we're going to carefully manage our lead and, well, shake things up.

  • FRED ARMISEN:

    With "The Barack Obama Variety Half-Hour." It's time to have some fun!

  • MAYA RUDOLPH:

    Because we got a lead in the polls, and we built it up.

  • FRED ARMISEN:

    We built it up.

  • MAYA RUDOLPH:

    We built it up. And now it's solid, solid as Barack…

  • FRED ARMISEN:

    … solid as Barack…

  • MAYA RUDOLPH:

    … that's what this lead is. That's what we've got, got, got, got, got, got, got…

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The candidates often play along in person. Two weeks ago, Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin made a cameo appearance on "SNL," prompting the show's highest ratings in 14 years. Here's a clip from that night.

  • ALEC BALDWIN, Actor:

    Hey, Lorne. Hey, Tina. Lorne, I need to talk to you. You can't let Tina go out there with that woman. She goes against everything we stand for. I mean, good lord, Lorne. They call her — what's that name they call her — Cara — Cara — what do they call her again, Tina?

    GOV. SARAH PALIN (R), Alaska: That would be Caribou Barbie.

  • ALEC BALDWIN:

    Caribou Barbie. Thank you, Tina.

    I mean, this is the most important election in our nation's history. And you want her, our Tina, to go out there and stand there with that horrible woman? What do you have to say for yourself?

    LORNE MICHAELS, "Saturday Night Live" Producer: Alec, this is Governor Palin.

    GOV. SARAH PALIN (R), Alaska: Hi, there.

  • ALEC BALDWIN:

    I see. Forgive me, but I feel I must say this. You are way hotter in person.

  • GOV. SARAH PALIN:

    Why, thank you.

  • ALEC BALDWIN:

    I mean, seriously. I mean, I can't believe they let her, you know, play you.

  • GOV. SARAH PALIN:

    Oh, thank you. And I must say your brother Steven is my favorite Baldwin brother.

  • ALEC BALDWIN:

    You are a delight. Now, come, let me take you for a tour of the studio. You know I've hosted the show — how many times, Lorne?

  • LORNE MICHAELS:

    A hundred and seventy five times.

  • ALEC BALDWIN:

    A hundred and seventy five.

  • TINA FEY, Actress:

    In answer to your question, you know, I don't worry about the polls. Polls are just a fancy way of systematically predicting what's going to happen. The only poll I care about is the North Pole, and that is melting. It's not great.

    What? The real one? Bye!

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