Sen. John McCain couldn’t carry a tune if it had a handle.
And that was part of his comedy shtick this weekend as the Arizona Republican butchered a number of Barbra Streisand songs and slammed her politics as he hosted NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.”
In a spoof commercial hawking an album called “McCain Sings Streisand,” the senator portrayed himself as a man who “has served his country in the military, the Congress, and the Senate,” said the announcer. “Now he serves America with song.”
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
That’s when McCain jumped into a brutal rendition of Streisand’s “Evergreen”:
“Love, soft as an easy chair; love, fresh as the morning air,” struggled McCain as his monotone voice fought to find to find the right pitch and key.
“I’ve been in politics for over 20 years, and for over 20 years, I’ve had Barbra Streisand trying to do my job,” said McCain during the spot. “So I decided to try my hand at her job.”
The Republican, who in real life is known to be a fan of The Beach Boys, also slaughtered other tunes by the longtime Democrat activist, including “People” and “The Way We Were.”
“Do I know how to sing?” McCain asked. “About as well as she knows how to govern America,” he said to roaring laughter from the studio audience.
“Here’s another gem for ya – Papa, can you hear me? Papa, can you see me?” bellowed McCain.
“Pretty annoying, huh? Now you know how I feel. My new CD is a must for all [of] Barbra Streisand’s fans as well as Log Cabin Republicans. And a special added bonus just for Babs, a portion of all sales will be used to damage Alaskan wildlife preserves, so order today!”
McCain appeared in other sketches, playing an overly adoring husband, a hip schoolteacher who carved pumpkins into likenesses of band members from Steely Dan, the Irish author of “Angela’s Ashes,” and himself during a stint on “Meet the Press.”
But the senator was criticized this week for having missed a vote on a $355 billion defense-spending bill as he prepared for his comic debut.
“Flying around the country on a book tour and rehearsing for ‘Saturday Night Live’ – which, when I last looked, was not exactly ‘Meet the Press’ – but then not showing up to vote in the Senate, suggests that you are not taking your official duties seriously,” said Bill Allison, a spokesman for the Washington-based Center for Public Integrity, as quoted in the Arizona Republic.
Janet Reno turned a dance-party skit into campaign reality
While “SNL” is more well-known for mocking politicians than having them host the show, former Attorney General Janet Reno made a brief appearance as she was leaving office, playing herself in a skit called “Janet Reno’s Dance Party.” And during her unsuccessful bid for Florida governor this year, she turned that skit into reality by hosting a fund-raiser by the same name at a trendy Miami Beach nightclub.
McCain himself portrayed current Attorney General John Ashcroft on this weekend’s broadcast, during a spoof of MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews.”
When asked by Matthews (played by comic Darrell Hammond) how to make the country feel safe again, McCain as Ashcroft stated:
“Chris, security starts with vigilance. As Americans we will never truly be free until each and every one of us is afraid of being thrown into jail. But thanks to the TIPS program, we’ve been able to detain tens of thousands of potential American terrorists for months at a time for little or no reason, just like the Founding Fathers dreamed. … We’ve got some really great stuff in the works. There’s one plan that would make the Arabic language – or anything that sounds like it – illegal.”
The roundtable also featured an appearance by singer Harry Belafonte (portrayed by Tracy Morgan), who last week had likened Secretary of State Colin Powell to a plantation slave who is “serving his master well.”
“Chris, I’m gonna say something that a lot of people are afraid to say,” proclaimed Belafonte. “Osama bin Laden is a[n] ‘Uncle Tom.’”
“Good God!” shouted Matthews. “I can’t even figure out who that’s offensive to.”