The only people working harder than the Romney and Obama campaign staffs for the next few months are the cast, writers, producers and production crew of "Saturday Night Live." Election years are always rich territory for "SNL," but after 2008's Sarah Palin juggernaut, we expect the venerable NBC comedy show to really amp up their game this season. Over the past year political sketches that didn't get past dress rehearsal even made the news, so it's only logical that the coming season will offer something special.
The campaign has already given them plenty to work with, but they still have 10 (!) shows and specials before Election Day. What can we expect? Who will play Paul Ryan? Will Sarah Palin make a comeback? We've made some predictions below.
The 38th season of "Saturday Night Live" premieres on September 15 at 11:30 p.m.
Jason Sudeikis Will Play Mitt Romney And Joe Biden
Sudeikis has yet to confirm whether or not he'll be leaving "SNL" this season, but as the show's current portrayer of both Mitt Romney and Joe Biden, we predict he'll stick around at least through the pre-election coverage. It may seem impossible for him to play both characters so closely tied to the election, but he's not the first: Dana Carvey played both George Bush and Ross Perot, Darrell Hammond playing both Bill Clinton and Al Gore and in 2004, Will Forte played both George W. Bush and John Edwards. Our money is on Jason sticking around.
Bill Hader Will Play Paul Ryan
There's been an <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vanity-fair/seth-meyers-on-who-will-p_b_1784684.html" target="_hplink">unprecedented amount of speculation</a> on who will play Romney's VP, but it's a sure bet that Hader will don that widow's peak. The only other viable choice would be newcomer Taran Killam, who couldn't commit to Ryan (with Sudeikis nearing the end of his tenure, he would need to play Romney for the next four years in the event that he won). Hader physically resembles Ryan and excels at playing skinny white guys who have a sinister energy lying just beneath the surface. In other words, he's perfect for Paul Ryan.
Tina Fey Will Return As Sarah Palin
Fey's spot-on Palin impression not only was the first time "SNL" gave more attention to a candidate's running mate than the guy at the top of the ticket, it gave "SNL" a bump it hadn't seen in years. Even though Palin hasn't been nearly as involved in the 2012 race (surely, a voluntary choice), you can't deny how much audiences love seeing Fey in that red suit, glasses and bouffant. Perhaps she'll show up to give Paul Ryan some advice?
Maya Rudolph Will Play Michelle Obama
"SNL" seems to have gone out of their way to avoid sketches that involve the First Lady, but with Michelle's high profile in her husband's re-election campaign, she may be hard to ignore. Former cast member Maya Rudolph has occupied the role twice since leaving the show, so our money's on her if Mrs. Obama does indeed show up. Our next choice would be Nasim Pedrad, who like Rudolph, tends to take on the roles that call for a little more diversity than cast often has.
The Real Paul Ryan Will Show Up At Some Point
We know that Romney himself was invited to appear on "SNL" last season, but we don't see that happening any time in the near future. The last thing he needs is to show off his keen sense of humor on a live comedy program. Paul Ryan, on the other hand, is infinitely more camera-ready and likable, so we expect to see him on the show. If "SNL" can convince Sarah Palin to come on, getting Ryan should be a cakewalk.
Bobby Moynihan Will Play Chris Christie
We've already seen how hard it is for David Letterman <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/29/letterman-chris-christie-non-fat-jokes_n_987178.html" target="_hplink">not to make fat jokes</a> at Chris Christie's expense. With Christie playing a big role this election, leading up to what's sure to be a fiery keynote speech at the Republican convention, we imagine that "SNL" will have a hard time staying away from the flamboyant New Jersey governor. That said, Bobby should have no problem donning some extra weight and nailing Christie's less-than-pleasant demeanor for a sketch.
Kate McKinnon Will Play Ann Romney
With Kristen Wiig and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/15/abby-elliott-not-returning-to-snl_n_1778800.html" target="_hplink">Abby Elliott</a> leaving the cast, newcomer Kate McKinnon seems like a shoe-in for Ann Romney. After <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/29/kate-mckinnon-snl-featured-player_n_1387549.html" target="_hplink">joining late last season</a>, the blonde actress hasn't yet had a chance to fully show off her strong character work. <em><a href="http://www.ariscott.com/" target="_hplink">(Kate McKinnon photo courtsey Ari Scott.)</a></em>
Darrell Hammond Will Return To Play Bill Clinton At Some Point
Just like the real Bill Clinton, Darrell Hammond seems to hardly need an invitation to trot out his spot-on Clinton impression. As many Democrats seem to wish they were re-electing Slick Willie instead of Bored Barry, we expect to see Clinton as some kind of Ghost of Elections Past
Jon Hamm Will Show Up At Some Point
Hamm, a frequent "SNL" host and dropper-in, is simply too funny and looks too good in a suit to <em>not</em> have a political guest spot on this season of "SNL." We don't know if he'll <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/31/hunky-scott-brown-is-ever_n_443504.html" target="_hplink">reprise his role as the hunky Scott Brown</a>, but if Jason Sudeikis doesn't return to play Mitt Romney, we definitely wouldn't mind watching Hamm play Mitt in a special cameo for a couple months.
Amy Poehler Will Return For A Thursday Special
Just like in 2008, "SNL" will air a couple of "Weekend Update Thursday" special episodes in addition to its regular Saturday broadcasts ahead of the election. While Seth Meyers is perfectly capable of holding his own behind the desk, we foresee Amy Poehler dropping in for an election-themed "Really!?!" segment.
Romney's Unreleased Tax Returns Will Still Be Ripe For Parody
While it's hard to predict what gaffes and scandals "SNL" will skewer in the coming months, the Romney camp may be waiting <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/19/mitt-romney-tax-returns-2011-october-15_n_1807433.html" target="_hplink">as long as Oct. 15</a> to release the GOP candidate's 2010 and 2011 tax returns. That means there's a pretty good chance Romney's questionable tax history will be the subject of at least one of the political cold opens.
Both Obama And Romney Will Make Pre-Recorded Messages (And Neither Will Be Funny)
It's not uncommon for presidential candidates to make an appearance or two on "SNL" prior to Election Day. George W. Bush, Al Gore, John McCain and Barack Obama all appeared in either pre-recorded or live appearances on the show while running. Romney definitely won't show up, and although Obama's generally a good sport about comedy, we'd be surprised if he does a live appearance. Don't count out a pre-recorded guest spot from both candidates, though. And considering the rigors of campaigning, don't be surprised if they fall flat on their face.
We'll Be Really F***ing Sick Of The Election By The Ninth Pre-Nov. 6 Episode
"SNL" will produce 10, count 'em, 10 episodes or specials before the election on Nov. 6. Sure, right now we're anxiously awaiting parodies of the conventions the first debates, but by the time we're actually about to decide who runs the country for the next four years? We're never going to want to see Fred Armisen's Obama impression or a sketch about Romney being out-of-touch again.
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