The life and reign of Muammar Gaddafi was no laughing matter, but the Libyan dictator – who died on Thursday when, according to CNN.com, he was “killed by revolutionary forces who were finally able to overrun his hometown” – was often used as comedic fodder.
In fact, a handful of celebrity reactions today on Twitter about the news were jokes. Just see posts from Joel McHale (“Gadhafi caught! Is there nothing Boba Fett can’t do!”) and Michael Ian Black, who wrote “S—: now everybody is going to do my “Zombie Gaddafi” idea for Halloween.” (Colin Quinn opted to rile up his followers by tweeting, “Another great innovator who started in the 80’s and regained popularity recently has died. Say hello to Mr. Jobs, Mr. Khaddafi.”)
But perhaps there’s no one more adept at poking fun at Gaddafi than Fred Armisen, who has spent years imitating him on Saturday Night Live. The SNL vet’s cartoonish version of Gaddafi has become so popular on the sketch comedy show, it’s hard to remember a two-week span in which he didn’t make an appearance. (Interestingly enough, during the Oct. 1 episode, Armisen opted not to play Gaddafi for a Weekend Update sketch, rather a friend of the dictator who talked about him behind his back.) Watch a clip of Armisen as Gaddafi below:
So what will -- or should -- SNL do now that Gaddafi has passed? The death of a controversial figure hasn't prompted the sketch comedy show to retire characters before. Case in point: The skits in the weeks that followed the death of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Armisen revived his bin Laden imitation for a last will and testament skit (his final requests included having Dakota Fanning as a pallbearer), while SNL, with host Tina Fey, spoofed The Little Mermaid with a scenario in which the cartoon characters come across the corpse of the slain terrorist leader in the ocean. Both skits were met with mixed reactions. Were they too soon? Spot on? Or simply not funny? Watch them again below:
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Since SNL is currently on hiatus and won’t return until Nov. 5 when Charlie Day hosts, fans of the late night show can only guess and wait to see how they will approach the news. (SNL, on their part, is not yet commenting about whether or not it will bring back Gaddafi.) Should they let Armisen have one last go at playing Gaddafi or should they let it, for lack of a better word, die?
How do you think Saturday Night Live should handle Muammar Gaddafi’s death? With a joke on Weekend Update or a cold open with Armisen playing him one last time? How did you feel about they’ve approached these situations in the past? Share in the comments section below.