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SNL's Awkward Goodbyes

Huffington Post   First Posted: 12/04/08 05:12 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 01:50 PM ET

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If you watched this weekend's SNL — featuring Democrat host Ben Affleck and GOP presidential candidate John McCain — all the way to the end, then you would have noticed at the traditional "goodbyes" were longer than usual, with more time to spy on the cast and guests milling around the stage, hugging and back-slapping and the like.

This week, however, seemed a tad more...awkward. It seemed — to this viewer, at least — that the handshake between Affleck and McCain was, well, awkward (and a little long, as McCain kept pumping enthusiastically away). Meanwhile, Tina Fey moved to Cindy McCain (having hugged her husband first) and gave her a nice two-handed clasp, leaning in for a word, but then there was a moment of...well, awkwardness, as conversation awkwardly dried up and Fey looked out and waved to the audience as Cindy stood by — yes — awkwardly. Meanwhile, after McCain finally let go of Affleck's hand, he turned back to the rest of the cast, to see who was next in line for hugs...and sorta had to wait for someone to turn to him. (Usually hosts and guests are mobbed by castmembers waiting for their big huge hug.) After Fred Armisen passed in front of McCain en route to someone else, so McCain turned to Bill Hader and Andy Samberg — if you look carefully, you'll see Darrell Hammond, who usually plays McCain, hiding out waaay in the back in a baseball cap.

Here's the video — see what you think:

MSNBC's Coutney Hazlett reports today that there were observations of "frosty" chemistry between Fey and McCain, and during the show I observed that she looked like she was having less fun than usual (though she looked like she relished "going rogue").

That's just the goodbyes though — GOP strategist Martin Eisenstadt, invited to join the McCain camp, wrote on his blog that both McCain and Cindy attended the after-party (Update: That has been disputed by two sources in attendance). He also noted another member of the McCain entourage: Joe the Plumber! That guy is DEFINITELY better off than he was four years ago.

Eisenstadt also noted two pieces of gossip about Joe the Plumber, one which I have debunked: That he "got some 'quality' alone time with a certain female cast member." Eisenstadt isn't "that familiar with the show" (um...following politics much these days?) and thought it was "the skinny brunette...Kirsten (sic) maybe?" (That would be Kristen Wiig, who has a boyfriend; fellow non-Fey non-Poehler female cast member Casey Wilson also has a boyfriend.) Eisenstadt didn't see "what time they left," wasn't sure of the people involved, and could not get a confirmation from Joe, but nonetheless said that he "wouldn't surprise me if someone got her drain snaked last night." Ew. Our sources — who were also at the after party, and the after-after party — DEFINITELY say that did NOT happen (per my source: "Fuck that guy!...Nothing is true.")

So take this next bit with a grain of salt:

While we were downing shots of Makers Mark, Joe got buttonholed by Ben Affleck's agent (Patrick-something from Endeavor, I think?) There was some serious talk about Joe appearing as the star on the next season of The Bachelor. Whether McCain wins or loses, believe me, Joe Wurzelbacher has already come out a winner.

Affleck's agent is indeed Patrick Whitesell from Endeavor, and Joe the Bachelor actually doesn't sound that far off (ahem). So — you heard it here first, unless you read Eisenstadt's blog, in which case you heard it here second. But whether you should believe it at all is another story.

One more thing: For the rec, I think that McCain was great on SNL, and it was a real and genuine treat to see Cindy. For those who were surprised that McCain allowed some of those jokes in there (and I was, frankly — dude IS running for PRESIDENT. Joe Klein called it "a concession to the inevitable"; I thought it was funny but a bit sad). Lawrence O'Donnell talked about that a bit with David Gregory last night on the special edition of "Race for the White House" — there's more heresay here, so beware — O'Donnell said that he had spoken with longtime SNL writer Jim Downey who said that the writers had all been surprised that McCain went for the sketch, and that they'd been fully expecting him to reject the jokes. O'Donnell also said that Downey said that Republicans were usually a lot more easygoing and less picky about the material they're giving, that Dems are more fussy about vetting the jokes.

Okay! So, please know that not a whole lot of this 'news' would be admissable in court (or maybe it would, but I can't remember my hearsay exceptions - law school was ten years ago). Otherwise, don't be surprised when Joe the Plumber ends up with a 3-picture deal and a $20 million endorsement deal. Also, here's some more behind-the-scenes show scuttlebutt from last week's ep with Jon Hamm — apparently the writers dressed up in suits and ties for the pitch meeting in homage to Mad Men. Awww. Also, Jon Hamm likes to party 'til 6 a.m.

Otherwise, no other news! Gosh, wish something fun were happening tomorrow!

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