Though pundits like Time's Mark Halperin are claiming that last night's vice presidential debate left Saturday Night Live little to parody (really?), it's hard to imagine that SNL would leave its ratings on the table by ignoring what was perhaps the most-anticipated Sarah Palin event of the entire election year. Now, according to EW's Michael Ausiello, SNL does indeed plan to cover the debate, which leaves it with one problem: the moderator, Gwen Ifill, was a black woman, and SNL still has none in its cast. It's the same problem the variety show has run into when covering Michelle Obama, and just as rumors flew that Lorne Michaels had approached Maya Rudolph about that role, SNL has its sights set on a very specific Ifill impersonator who's not a member of the actual cast:
On the off chance this weekend's SNL features a spoof of tonight's vice presidential slugfest, I can tell you who will be playing PBS moderator Gwen Ifill: Queen Latifah. A well-placed source confirms to me exclusively that SNL has gone ahead and secured Latifah's services for Saturday's show. The insider cautions, however, that the debate sketch isn't 100 percent locked — and a final decision might not come down until Saturday. There's also no official word as to whether Tina Fey would be back as Palin.
With Palin herself now appropriating Fey touches like goofy, stalling winks, one would hope Fey would return to cap off what may be a trilogy of SNL appearances spoofing the candidate. Again, though, we have to ask: can't SNL just add a black comedienne to its cast? The show has been on for thirty-six seasons and has only managed to add a handful of black women to its roster of performers. To quote from the parlance of our times, is that change we can believe in, or is it more of the same? [Photo Credit: AP]