Saturday Night Live‘s most recent cold open — a sketch that satirized Fox & Friends — was such a nonentity that EW’s recapper didn’t bother mentioning it in his postmortem. But here’s some background: According to Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller, Saturday’s show was originally supposed to open with a sketch starring Fred Armisen as Barack Obama. The scrapped opener criticizes Obama for politicizing the death of Osama bin Laden; the opener that aired instead criticizes Fox’s on-air personalities for being too quick to slam the president.
In the rejected sketch — written by SNL veteran Jim Downey — Obama addresses the nation on the one-year anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death. He declares a new celebration called “Killing Osama bin Laden Day,” tries to take all the credit for taking out the terrorist, and suggests that Mitt Romney may share some “special bond” with the fallen al-Qaeda leader. (After all, “Mitt and Osama were both members of the One Percent.”) The Republican presidential candidate made headlines last week when he accused Obama of milking bin Laden’s death for his own political gain.
So, why did Saturday Night Live‘s deciders replace a sketch that took aim at a liberal president with one that skewered the conservative media? It’d be easy to assume that their choice was politically motivated — but like Ross Luippold at The Huffington Post, I’m more inclined to guess that the sketches were swapped for another reason: Armisen’s Obama impersonation is notoriously weak; even if this material reads funny on the page, it’s likely that it tanked when read aloud.
The Fox & Friends sketch is also a bit more lighthearted and less pointed than Downey’s Obama/Osama script. Maybe SNL‘s team just thought it’d be a lighter way to open the show. Either way, I’m hoping that the brouhaha over this 11th-our switch leads Saturday Night Live to try a few cold opens that aren’t political — these sketches tend to be dead weight.
Check out the full text of the scrapped sketch below — and feel free to speculate about why it was rejected in the comments.