SNL’s Lorne Michaels: Liberals Lack a Sense of Humor

It isn’t news to any conservative that most liberals have a deficient sense of humor, which is what makes the light bulb joke about feminists so accurate. (How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb? “That’s not funny!”)  But it ought to be worth something when Lorne Michaels, the long time producer of Saturday Night Live, ratifies this, in this month’s New York magazine interview (note especially what he says about Jon Stewart):

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

Michaels: 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.

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?

Michaels: 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.

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