11/04/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

SNL: Tina Fey's Plucky Palin, Ann Hathaway, The Bailout, And Mark Wahlberg With A Goat

Tina Fey continued her dominance as late-night's favorite character in yet another killer portrayal of Sarah Palin on this evening's "Saturday Night Live." Last night, she joined Queen Latifah as Gwen Ifill and Jason Sudeikis as Joe Biden in a great opening sketch mocking Thursday's Vice-Presidential debate. The host was Ann Hathaway, who gave a strong opening monologue about her con ex-boyfriend, playing off on how gullible she must be (about her new boyfriend, met over the internet: "I mean, how often does someone meet a Nigerian prince?").

Here are 5 videos from the show, with some observations below, including "Weekend Update" zingers that aren't online.

(1) Washington Passes The Bailout Package: Kristen Wiig as Nancy Pelosi, Jason Sudeikis as President Bush, and Fred Armisen as Barney Frank:

(2) VP Debate: Tina Fey as Sarah Palin, Jason Sudeikis as Joe Biden, Queen Latifah as Gwen Ifill:

(3) Mary Poppins Explains "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious": Ann Hathaway as Mary Poppins, Casey Wilson as Jane, Bobby Moynihan as Michael, Bill Hader as (an awesome) Bert, and Will Forte as the jolly Officer:

(4) Mark Wahlberg Talks To Animals: Andy Samberg as Wahlberg, chatting up farm animals ("Say hello to your mother for me"):

(5) The Lawrence Welk Show: Featuring a pretty sister-girl group, except for Kristen Wiig as the ugly, weirdo sister:

(6) Digital Short: Extreme Challenge:Andy Samberg and Kristen Wiig face off in a series of Extreme Challenges; Will Forte is the ref.

(7) Bonus -SNL Backstage: Bobby MoynihanArmisen and Samberg welcome their new castmate to the hallowed halls for 8H:

A few thoughts:

  • Latifah's portrayal of Ifill was a touch astringent, connecting Ifill's lack of follow-up questions during the debate with the controversy around her upcoming book Breakthrough, Politics of Race in the Age of Obama." Her other big zinger: "Due to the historically low expectations for Gov. Palin, were she simply to do an adequate job tonight, at no point cry, faint, run out of the building or vomit, you should consider the debate a tie."

  • It was at that point that Fey winked.

  • Sudeikis' genial Biden was great ("I love John McCain. He's one of my dearest friends. But at the same time, he's also mentally unbalanced"), and he got some good lines, but it was Fey who once again stole the show. She (and the writers) pulled out every stop, including (a) gay marriage (and friends) (b) Playing the flute (c) global warming (d) shout out to third-graders (e) mavericks (f) Joe Sixpacks (g) looking adorable. That is why the sketch was a whopping 11 minutes long.

  • Fey has never looked as hot as she has as Palin. Is that weird that I think that?

  • Sure crowd-pleaser that is bound to be cited in future attacks on the unfair liberal media: "I believe marriage is meant to be a sacred institution between two unwilling teenagers."

  • Hathaway gamely tackles the Raffaello Follieri debacle: "I broke up with my Italian boyfriend and two weeks later he was arrested for fraud. I know! We've all been there, right ladies?"

  • You just saw it in "Lawrence Welk" above, but if you didn't howl hysterically at Kristen Wiig's tiny hands, you have no soul.

  • This is from "Weekend Update," not online, but: Will Forte's real name actually is Orville Willis Forte IV. I love his uptight nerdy political characters. This time he sang every congressman's name and how they voted on the bailout ("Joe Barton, Republican, 'Yea'..."). Ridiculous + repetitive = Hilarious. Song almost as good as this one (scroll down).

  • The "Extreme Activities Competition" digital short is strongly reminiscent of the "Punch" short, both structurally and musically (both have a "Jump" by House of Pain vibe). Watch 'em both and see if you disagree. You won't.

  • Bailout sketch: Thank God they put it online, because how the hell to explain it? Pelosi's crazy-eyes, Frank's crazy-face, Wilson's crazy-hair, and — oh yes — this country's crazy subprime mortgages (cf. Moynihan: "I don't know how this happened to me! I fit all the requirements for a subprime mortgage - no credit history, prison record..."). Also Will Forte as George Soros, and a Poheler meta-appearance as a baby mama.

  • The Killers! What bird had to die for Brandon Flowers' epaulets?

  • Don't know what was in the water this week, but there was an extra-dose of....let's just call it "inspiration" this week, that I think can best be summed up in this phrase: "Say hello to your mother for me."

  • Showtune shout-out! Sudeikis as Hathaway's gay roommate, who reveals he's actually not gay on the day she moves out (and tries to kiss her). Bonus: Sudeikis singing "What I Did For Love" from A Chorus Line. He did what he had to do...

  • Oh, a shout-out to hair on this one — he also wasn't really a hairdresser. "But I let you cut my hair!" she wails. "Yeah, I got lucky on that." At that point, you notice a random chuck on hair sticking out at the side. God is in the details.

  • Also, Hader as also-fake-gay-boyfriend giving him a peck on the lips didnt' even register as odd until the crowd oohed. Come on, live studio audience, we've seen Jonah Hill making out with Jim Downey. This is nothing.

  • Love for Hader: He really is a gifted impressionist, anyone who loved Marry Poppins as a kid could tell that instantly (Hathaway was no slouch, either). The Supercalifragilistic-STD was rather good too — I guess she'd been having a few too many "jolly holidays." Yes, I as a matter of fact I am proud of that.

  • Did I mention that Hathaway looked stunning? In the pre-sketch photos, in the sketches, in the weird-but-saucy "Cabaret" inspired hat look before announcing the Killers second go. Princess Mia cleans up good.

  • Casey Wilson gets a nice moment as Katy Perry — but Wiig steals it with a 5-second appearance as a butch lesbian golfer. Wilson gets high marks for being a strong supporting cast member, but I'm itching to see more out of her. I think it comes down to this: I have no sense of her personality or who she is — I have no sense of her comedy. It's the Rob Riggle trap — if you're always the straight man or the support then audiences can't fall in love with you. She needs another paralyzed stripper sketch. Or at the very least, some "Update" facetime.

  • "Weekend Update" featured a joke-off between Amy and Seth about the various reasons a very, very fat man would get married (winner: To get cake). Also, for Howard Kurtz, an OJ mention: "OJ Simpson was found guilty Friday on charges of armed robbery, assault and kidnapping, but really murder."

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