We've come a long way from Richard Nixon declaring "Sock it to me" on "Laugh-In" and Bill Clinton playing the saxophone on Arsenio Hall's talk show.
To appear likable these days, political candidates must show a Jack Russell Terrier's eagerness to goof on their national images to prove they can take a joke. Which brings us to Sarah Palin pumping her palms in the air in approval as "Saturday Night Live" cracked silly with the Republican vice-presidential candidate this weekend.
On the same night that SNL tapped actor Josh Brolin — you know, the guy portraying President George W. Bush as the squinty-eyed Texas party boy in Oliver Stone's new film — to host, the governor of Alaska crashed doppelganger Tina Fey's faux Palin press conference. Inviting on Fey's "30 Rock" pal Alec Baldwin for a brief cameo as he mistook Palin for Fey drew knowing laughs.
For a split second, you had to wonder if Baldwin, an outspoken liberal, would be able to stay on script and maintain his chummy facade with Palin, but consider it mission accomplished.
Fey could not have scooted past Palin any faster when the governor of Alaska swept over to take over at the podium to declare, "Live from New York ..."
Palin reappeared during the show's "Weekend Update" segment, as she pretended to back out of a planned rap about the McCain-Palin ticket. That just gave Amy Poehler the set-up she needed to launch in to a crazy rap-and-dance routine that included her shooting a castmember wearing a moose costume and the memorable couplet, "I'm Jeremiah Wright 'cause tonight I'm the preacha/ I got a bookish look and you're all hot for teacha ..."
And that's how we got to the point where a vice-presidential candidate is raising the roof from her seat alongside SNL castmember Seth Myers as Poehler raps, "All the mavericks in the house put your hands up."
Now let us never speak of this moment again, other than to note that Palin came off as a fairly less wooden actor than Mark Wahlberg. I'll take Andy Samberg's impersonation of Wahlberg over Wahlberg's at this point.
Give Palin credit for sticking around until the end of the show to wave goodbye with the cast. Is it too much to dream that she partied it up with Fey, Baldwin and the rest of the gang at the wrap party?