If you would indulge me for a moment (and hopefully not be too offended), I’d like to take time out from more serious topics to discuss … late-night sketch comedy and political satire.
This piece in yesterday’s Chicago Tribune, which was inspired by this piece from The Daily Beast, once again got me to thinking about the sorry state of Saturday Night Live when it comes to non-white cast members. The emergence of Barack Obama on the political stage has really exposed the show’s weakness on this point. I like Fred Armisen, who currently does Obama on the show, but I haven’t been that impressed with his impersonation. His take on Obama feels flat, without much nuance or irony. It’s as if he’s so busy trying to look like Obama that he doesn’t feel the freedom to dive deeper into the character and make him his own, the way Tina Fey did with Sarah Palin.
Anyway, I’m not one to say the actor portraying Obama has to be an African American, but all of the best Obama impersonations that I’ve seen so far come from black performers. I’ve narrowed it down to two: Jordan Peele (formerly of MadTV) and a mostly unknown performer on YouTube called Alphacat.
I like both of them for their Obama-esque mannerisms and vocal inflections. Also, both performers are good at tweaking Obama on his smart-guy “coolness”—or what may be perceived by some as arrogance. But I can’t decide which actor has the edge. You can check out some of their work below and let me know what you think.
However, I must add this warning: This is not Christian comedy! So if you might feel a bit uncomfortable with crass humor and a dab of profanity (mainly in the Jordan Peele video), please don’t watch. And please forgive me in advance. 🙂
Alphacat’s Obama After the Debate
Jordan Peele’s Obama Slams Nancy Reagan—Again
I won’t embed this one on the blog, but you can watch it by going here.