Tuned In

TV Weekend: Who Will Wear The Glasses?

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A reminder that Saturday Night Live returns this weekend, amid word that Tina Fey is in talks to play Sarah Palin on the show. (Also, Barack Obama will reportedly cameo.)

What’s the opening sketch? The Charlie Gibson interview? The convention? Will it involve Bristol? Will there be a moose?

Update: Chaddogg asks a better question–

@James and anyone else — what are your thoughts on having Tina Fey play Palin? I personally don’t like it — seems lazy to me, and while vaguely similar (the glasses, at least), I don’t think similarity in appearance should automatically dictate who does the impression.

Good question. Playing characters was not Fey’s strong suit when she was on the show. I have no idea how well she’d do. But I think too often, for a long time now, SNL has focused too much in its impersonations on getting the best imitation rather than having the actor who can create the best character.

That’s the real secret to a good impersonation. Chevy Chase looked and sounded nothing like Gerald Ford, but he created a character, captured his essence (or Chase’s version of it anyway) and it was brilliant. Mere imitations are often lousy humor. Frank Caliendo, for instance, can do fantastic imitations, but he’s just not that funny, and never really seems to have thought that much about how his target thinks rather than how they sound.