Now that Mitt Romney’s general election campaign is breathing air, will he soon be “live, from New York”? The Republican presidential candidate has been asked to host “Saturday Night Live,” according to Maureen Dowd’s New York Times column, published Saturday evening.
Lorne Michaels, the show’s executive producer, has offered a guest spot to Romney, who is considering it.
If recent seasons of “SNL” are any indication, the current season, the show’s 37th, will see three more episodes. None of the remaining guest hosts have been formally announced, as of Saturday evening. If Romney does not host this season, he would not host until the next season’s premiere in September, which is only about a month before the 2012 election.
The last time a figure in the world of politics hosted was Donald Trump’s episode in 2004. That same season, Al Sharpton performed a guest hosting stint. But the last time a presidential candidate hosted was in the spring of 1996 with GOP hopeful and magazine publisher Steve Forbes, although he ultimately did not get far in the primaries. In the last several election cycles, all presidential candidates, with the exception of John Kerry, have made an appearance on “SNL” during their campaigns, either in the studio or pre-taped.
Of course, in 2008, Tina Fey made a cultural mark by lampooning Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin in opening of the 34th season. As recently dramatized in the HBO movie “Game Change,” Fey’s impersonation of Palin cemented public opinion of the Alaska governor. (Palin’s candidacy was announced in August 2007 while “SNL” was on hiatus.)
Dowd’s op-ed column quotes several sources at “SNL,” including writer James Downey, who has written the bulk of show’s political parodies nearly since the show’s beginning, and Seth Meyers, the show’s current head writer and “Weekend Update” anchor. Much of Dowd’s column is devoted to the show’s staff expressing boredom with the likely pairing of Romney and Obama, with Dowd calling it “Tin Man vs. Spock.”
Meyers unfavorably compared the 2012 race to the 2008 race, telling Dowd he saw Palin as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” for a comedy writer.
In 2012, the show will have another potentially tricky option to solve: The casting of Mitt Romney. Jason Sudeikis has always portrayed the former Massachusetts governor. But with rumors that Sudeikis will exit the show at the end of this season when his contract expires, it seems likely that another cast member will take over for Romney, such as newcomer Taran Killam. Kristen Wiig, who plays Ann Romney, is also rumored to leave at the same time. However, Downey says that he is “sure they would stick around for the pre-election shows.”