Saturday Night Live: venerable source of irreverence, or Jay Leno with multiple-personality disorder? Once, we had Dan Aykroyd's psychotically furtive Richard Nixon and Phil Hartman's perfectly smarmy Bill Clinton. SNL could be mining the current living-room war with explosive impersonations and wicked ''Weekend Update'' sallies. But, taking examples from April 12's episode, let's avoid the Saturday Night Dead cliche and go for accuracy: Live, from New York...it's just toothless and spineless!
00:01 Horatio Sanz plays Saddam as a harmless, jovial idiot, repeating ''I'm not dead!''
43:20 Tina Fey giggles at her limp Iraqis-are-looting joke. Jimmy Fallon bombs comparing ''Chemical Ali'' to a ''Chemical Frazier.'' Darrell Hammond as Iraq's minister of information orders Fey to ''surrender.'' Oh, I get it: The Iraqi regime isn't death-dealing -- it's just deluded.
1:27:00 Fred Armisen as Uday Hussein in campaign ad: ''Why elect the less competent son of a former president? Well, you guys did it!'' Subtext: The war is ''over,'' so America is free to risk a tame little Bush dig. Which SNL writer has the cojones to wake up Lorne Michaels and tell him to start watching Jon Stewart for pointers?