Thursday, April 14, 2005


As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
April 14, 2005

We’ve known all along that New Mexico politicians are funny characters.

But in the past week or so, two prominent public servants from the Land of Enchantment have been noticed by national comedy shows on television.

An overweight Hispanic comic impersonated Gov. Bill Richardson as a victim of Bee Gee rage on Saturday Night Live, while Jon Stewart mocked interview footage of U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici last week on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show.

This is pretty impressive for our politicos. After all, Bruce King never made it onto Hee-Haw.

Attacked by a Bee Gee: The last sketch on last week’s SNL was a spoof called “The Barry Gibb Talk Show.” Former cast member Jimmy Fallon played head Bee Gee Barry Gibb, while Justin Timberlake portrayed his brother, Robin Gibb. Their “guests” included Cameron Diaz as U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Drew Barrymore as right-wing author Ann Coulter and Horatio Sanz as the governor of the state of New Mexico.

In the skit, Barry Gibb — speaking in a warbly Bee Gee voice that sometimes slips into a falsetto — asks his guests questions, only to turn on them and angrily berate them. When it’s Richardson’s turn, both brothers Gibb sing his name.

“That’s really great,” Sanz/Richardson says. “First, Barry, let me say that my wife and I are big fans. Every time you guys are in New Mexico, we are there. I mean we really get into it.”

To which Fallon/Gibb replies, “Oh, every time we’re there. That’s really wonderful, considering we haven’t been to New Mexico in 12 friggin’ years. Don’t you patronize me. I’m Barry Gibb! I’ll take out my Bowie knife and gut you like a fish ...”

Watching Gibb yell in Richardson’s face, poke his belly and mess up his tie, I couldn’t help but think of the governor’s ever-present entourage of state police guards, who in real life would have made Bee Gee frappe out of Gibb if he tried that.

Though he didn’t have many lines last week, Sanz was a natural for Richardson. Not only is the resemblance uncanny, but Sanz must have watched a bunch of Richardson’s Larry King appearances to get his mannerisms down. I’m betting this won’t be the last time the Chilean-born funny man impersonates our gov. In fact, I bet Sanz is praying that Richardson runs for president.

Culture of comedy: Domenici’s treatment on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart last week was far more pointed than Richardson’s on SNL. (You can find a link to a Real Audio clip HERE)

Stewart was making a point that many Republican politicians immediately picked up on the Bush administration catch phrase “culture of life” to describe the views of late Pope John Paul II.

He ran a clip of Domenici in Rome — from an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer — saying, “Frankly, this pope, as I view it, is a great, great pillar of humanity ... because he liked freedom and he was in love with the culture of life.”

“Yes!” Stewart said. “As luck would have it, the Pope’s death turned out to be a wonderful time to point out how his views coincided exactly with those of many conservatives.”

After having some similar fun with President Bush’s spokesman Scott McClelland, Stewart said, “Unfortunately for the administration, the Pope also expressed other beliefs.”

He then ran a clip of Blitzer pointing out that Domenici’s support of the death penalty is contrary to the Catholic Church’s position.

“You know, that's a nice question, but I didn't really come on here to talk about that. ” Domenici told Blitzer.

To which Stewart quipped, “I came on here to spin the Pope’s death positively for me.”

In fairness, a transcript of the CNN interview shows that Domenici didn’t actually cut off questioning at that point.

The senator didn’t actual answer Blitzer’s capital punishment question, but he said the Pope, “... stands for some eternal truths and it's hard for a human beings to believe every single one of those things that he talks about, but he will go down in history without question, as one of the great ones. Not only because he thought there were certain truths that were just right, they didn't go left or right, that they were what they were.”

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12:42 AM

    I work at a newspaper in Farmington and Richardson was in our office last week. Our editor, also an overweight Hispanic man, asked him if he had seen the sketch. Richardson answered that he had not seen it yet, but has the tape. He noted that he had sent a Zia-shaped lapel pin identical to the one he wears to Sans in the event that he impersonates him again. No publicity is bad publicity when you are planning to run for President, even if you won't admit it yet.


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