‘SNL’ producer: Republicans have better sense of humor; Dems take it personally

Lorne Michaels
Photo Credit: Mary Ellen Matthews via the NY Daily News

Saturday Night Live” executive producer Lorne Michaels recently admitted that Republicans are easier targets to poke fun at than Democrats, but simply because Republicans have a better sense of humor.

In an interview with Vulture” for the February edition of New York Magazine, Michaels was asked about the “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.

Michaels also answered a question about the large amount of openly political conservative comedians the show has employed over the years.

Between Victoria Jackson, Jon Lovitz, Dennis Miller, Norm MacDonald, Colin Quinn, Jim Downey, and Adam Sandler, SNL seems to produce a lot of conservatives, which is rare for a comedy show. Why do you think that is?

Well, let’s put Victoria in a separate category. When she arrived here, she was married to a fire-eater. Then she married an old boyfriend who was a cop. She was always deeply Christian. I would say Norm is more cranky than political. I love Norm. We’re both Canadian. I think Downey grew up with parents who were Kennedy Democrats and then he evolved. But we’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.

And showing that he has his own sense of humor, not to mention somewhat more political savvy than many politicians and elected officials, Michaels revealed why he doesn’t use social media.

How much more concerned about being politically correct are you? The Internet is always ready to pounce when you step out of line. Do you read any of that?

No. I also don’t tweet. I don’t tweet for a very simple reason, which is that I drink.

But we couldn’t do “News for the Hard of Hearing” anymore, because that’s a handicap. When we did Governor Paterson, we were roundly criticized. But comedy is a safety valve. If a culture doesn’t allow you to laugh at the leaders or at things that your eyes and ears tell you are actually happening, that’s not good. I do get into trouble every now and then, because we’re at that level where we’re being defined as if we’re a government institution. Like with the diversity thing.

That “diversity thing” was a reference to the recent hiring of Sasheer Zamata after the show was roundly criticized last year for not having a black female comedian on its staff.

H/T: The Weekly Standard

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