• The Hollywood Reporter on LinkedIn
  • Follow THR on Pinterest
FEB
18
3 YEARS

'SNL' Mocks Jeremy Lin Controversy, Gives Obama a Cosby Makeover (Video)

The Maya Rudolph-hosted episode featured appearances by Justin Timberlake, Amy Poehler, Bill O’Reilly, and swimsuit model Kate Upton.

Saturday Night Live, Feb. 18, 2012
NBC

There may have been as many real-life celebrities on Saturday Night Live this week as there were parodies of them.

Former cast member Maya Rudolph hosted, and was joined by guest stars Justin Timberlake, SNL alumn Amy Poehler, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, and Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Kate Upton. Sleigh Bells was the musical guest.

SNL took the "Linsanity" surrounding NBA star Jeremy Lin to the next level in its cold open. In real life, several sports commentators have been accused of making racially insensitive remarks related to Lin, a Taiwanese-American. On SNL, commentators—two black and two white—use Asian stereotypes when discussing Lin, each more offensive than the last. But when one of the white commentators uses an African American stereotype, things get ugly.

STORY: Jeremy Lin Drives Knicks Ratings, Outdraws as 'Linsanity' Takes New York

Arguably the finest moment of the episode was the opening theme of the The Obama Show, a spot on recreation of the opening credits of The Cosby Show. The sketch sees Fred Armisen dressed as President Obama but speaking with the cadence of Bill Cosby, Rudolph playing Michelle Obama, and Jason Sudeikis as a hybrid between Vice President Joe Biden and Cosby star Malcolm-Jamal Warner.The conceit of the sketch is The Obama Show is all part of the first lady’s campaign to end obesity. It ends with her convincing the president to eat a rice cake instead of an unhealthy hoagie, and Biden blackmailing the president into letting Biden borrow his car. 

STORY: Jeremy Lin Generates More Twitter Traffic Than Any NBA Player and Obama

Timberlake was bearded and hilarious as Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon, showing up at Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s mansion to serenade their new baby. Timberlake plays up Vernon’s mountain man mystique, and reputation for being a tad pretentious. His song, a takeoff of Bon Iver’s “Holocene” is so soothing (or perhaps dull) that he falls asleep while singing it. Classic Bon Iver. 

SNL is next new on March 3, with host Lindsay Lohan and musical guest Jack White.