Monday, December 05, 2011

Comparing Fred Armisen’s ‘SNL’ Obama to Dana Carvey’s Bush -

“People say the economy has problems,” Mr. Carvey said in a robotic, high-pitched whine in an Oval Office address. “Try telling it to that guy out there in Oregon who is working on that thing, doing it, going round and round in the whole area out there.”

Most of Mr. Carvey’s sketches were solitary speeches delivered at a desk, with no gimmicks and relatively few jokes. The humor was rooted in character. What made Mr. Carvey such a thrillingly adventurous and funny performer is that he kept pushing his cartoonish character in more flamboyant directions.

His elaborate hand gestures became so ornamental that they looked like something out of Peking Opera. As he refined the character, his language grew vaguer and vaguer, an evolution that was actually an articulate comment on the decline of clarity in political rhetoric. Sentences turned into fragments, then words turned into mumblings. “Not going to do it” became “na ga da.” It was so outlandish that it appeared less scathing than it actually was. Mr. Bush, who appeared on the show, seemed genuinely to like it.