I was glad to see a relaxed but not too relaxed Vice-President Joe Biden on The Daily Show last night.
The VP was articulate, knowledgable, and good-humored, a far cry from the gruff-voiced, gaffe-prone parody in the cold open of Saturday Night Live three evenings prior. Biden has made his share of painfully inartful statements, for sure, and it’s fine to razz him for his tendencies to speak too long or say too much. He’s smart, though, and Jason Sudeikis’ impression of him as a gravelly loudmouth sounds nothing like Biden — to me, a fatal error, because good impressions are far more about the voice than the visual. I’m thinking of Dan Aykroyd’s unlikely evocation of Jimmy Carter even with a mustache on early SNL, Gary Cole nailing Robert Reed’s tone as Mike Brady in the big-screen Brady Bunch flicks, or Frank Caliendo’s quick changes from John Madden to Charles Barkley to George W. Bush when visiting David Letterman on The Late Show. (Caliendo is better at stand-up than he was on his short-lived cable series.)
Sudeikis has been charming as Liz Lemon’s boyfriend on 30 Rock and handy as a utility player at 30 Rock, but when it comes to playing real people he most often seems to do little more than wear a wig. One exception is his recent turn as Glenn Beck, and he did a fine Jimmy Stewart this past weekend; then again, everyone can do Jimmy Stewart, and the less said about the rest of that sketch the better.
Related: Boing! • My Other Saturday Notes • Dans la Nuit