Rob Ford is the mayor of Toronto, who just in the last few months has been caught on video smoking what appeared to be crack cocaine, appeared heavily intoxicated in public on multiple occasions and, just this past week, used an off-color term for oral sex in a live, televised press conference. And that’s to say nothing of his appearance and general demeanor, which more than observer has compared to that of Chris Farley’s “Tommy Boy” character.
So when Farley’s old show, Saturday Night Live, came back from a two-week hiatus over the weekend, making fun of the Ford situation seemed like a slam dunk. The show even has Bobby Moynihan, a natural Ford impersonator. So here’s what they did:
Yeesh. Faced with a real-life story that’s an unprecedented comedy gold mine, SNL’s Ford sketch was centered around… silly Canadian accents. When Ford’s actual accent doesn’t sound anything like that. SNL has had great Canadian performers throughout it history, from Dan Aykroyd to Mike Myers. Lorne Michaels himself is Canadian. But surely the writers must know that of the funny/absurd parts of the Ford story, the use of the word “eh” isn’t even in the top 50.
And even worse, the bit segued into a parody of 60 Minutes‘ recent Benghazi fiasco that was just as toothless. And while Moynihan can be funny, he clearly took the “Tommy Boy” talk seriously- in the sketch, he looked and sounded a lot more like Chris Farley than Rob Ford.
I realize these cold open sketches are hard to do right- it’s been a fairly strong SNL season, but there’s been about one memorable cold open, the Kerry Washington one. And sometimes a real-life story is so absurd on its face that it’s hard to make fun of it. But come on- it’s Rob Ford! How do you make Rob Ford not funny?
South Park, due to Terrence and Philip and their bizarre depiction of Canadians as a different species/race, are better at this kind of thing. Their inevitable Ford episode, I assume, will be better.
The episode itself, however, wasn’t bad at all with Lady Gaga, who isn’t even really an actress or comedienne, more than holding her own as host and musical guest.