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Fey, Ferrell & The Weekend Update Mega-Map: Just Another Thursday Night Live

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And the SNL cameos keep coming: Tonight's "Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday" featured returning alumnus Will Ferrell in his signature role as George W.Bush.

The half-hour prime-time version of SNL ends its short run — just three weeks — as the campaign draws to a close (and, more importantly, as mutliple-Emmy winner "30 Rock" returns triumphantly next week to NBC's Thursday-night lineup).

The show opened with Ferrel-as-Bush addressing the nation, first on the economy ("Hello, my fellow Americans. I have chosen to schedule this impromptu address at night because quite frankly every time I speak during the day, the Stock Market goes in the crapper. So, sorry, Asian markets. You take the hit on this one") and then on the 2008 campaign ("I come to you tonight in the midst of a very important election between two very qualified candidates: the hot lady and the Tiger Woods guy.").

But the real fun, of course, was in Tina Fey's return to yet again reprise her turn as Sarah Palin, in what has proved to be the comedic gift that keeps on giving (and giving and giving). Seeing those two political send-ups together on-screen was great fun (and their dialog yielded two great lines: (1) Bush on looking for John McCain so he could endorse him: " George Bush always finds his man save for one huge exception" and (2) Fey as Palin: "I like to think I'm one part practiced folksy , one part sassy and a little dash of high-school bitchy").

Another huge highlight for news junkies is SNL's fairly-impressive rendering of the CNN Magic Wall, aka the "Weekend Update MegaPixel Mega-Map," featuring Fred Armisen doing his best John King. Aside from being funny, the technology they managed to wrangle for this is impressive.(Do we detect the hand of Jeff Han in this? I've never seen King do a Michigan bounce quite like that.) UPDATE: Yep, that was the Hand of Han, all right. SNL confirmed it to us and Han confirmed it to Stevie Newser.

There was also a Samberg short called "Jam the Vote" — tha's also below. I'll let you enjoy that without spoiling it, unless you have a weak stomach, in which case I will advise against the spicy hotdog. Also notable: One more Kenan Thompson appearance as financial adviser Oscar "Fix It!" Rogers, and Jason Sudeikis rocking his Todd Palin look from last weekend's Update rap. Clearly a visual that works.

One small note: Though all the hoopla has been about Fey as Palin, and this week's Ferrell return was indeed headline-worthy, I do want to point out that Darrell Hammond has also been doing a terrific John McCain, and did so again last night. He's the longest-running cast member the series has ever had — now in his 13th season. So, a few well-deserved props.

Three sketches below — note that Amy Poehler's baby is still hangin' in there. Is it bad that I sort of want her to go into labor on live TV? I sorta think Lorne Michaels does, too.

Ferrell & Fey in the Oval Office

Wonder Map


Jam The Vote!

Coming up this Saturday: Jon Hamm of "Mad Men!" I'm not unreasonably excited, why would you think that? He's a fine actor. I didn't even notice that he was handsome.