What could bring together an all-star cast of “Saturday Night Live” presidential doppelgangers?
The issue of consumer protection.
Seven stars and ex-stars of the long-running NBC comedy got together for an unusual, and sometimes side-splitting, political effort in a special video made for the Web site Funny or Die.
Obama, played by Fred Armisen, emerges from a smoke-filled bathroom to engage in a bedside chat with the First Lady Michelle Obama (Maya Rudolph) to have a bedtime chat about — what else? — financial institutions, deregulation and consumer protection.
“These banks and the credit card companies are ripping off the people with almost no regulations,” Obama complains. “I’m trying to make a consumer agency to protect families and the lobbyists and Senator Shelby act like I’m trying to change the national anthem to ‘I Got 99 Problems and a B**** Ain’t One.'”
Yes, it does get raunchy, but in a PG-13, or maybe a mild R sort of way.
As he and Michelle settle back in bed, a string of ex-presidents parade into the bedroom, all exhorting him to find a way to pass the consumer protection law.
The segment, directed by Ron Howard, brings back Dana Carvey as George H.W. Bush, Dan Ackroyd as Jimmy Carter with a few extra peanuts stuffed in him, Chevy Chase as the ever bumbling Gerald Ford, Darrell Hammond as the ever ribald Bill Clinton, Jim Carrey as Ronald Reagan and Will Ferrell — co-founder of Funny or Die — as George W. Bush.
Credit card issuers get special satirical attention.
“When I put the Iraq war on my credit card, I never dreamed I’d be paying 28 percent in interest rates. It’s astronomical,” whines Ferrell/Bush.
“Mr. President, you have to establish the consumer finance protection agency. People are tired of being ripped off by credit card companies and banks,” says Ackroyd/Carter.
It was the first time that all the SNL faux presidents, a comic tradition initiated by Chase in the mid-’70s, had been in a sketch together. Howard told the Baltimore Sun, “I actually felt like now I understand a little bit when you get to manage or coach an all-star game.”
The five-minute, 43-second clip ends with a pitch for consumers to get involved and urge their representatives to pass the act.
It was sponsored by mainstreetbrigade.org, a political group that favors creating a stand-alone agency for consumer protection, an idea that financial institutions have heavily lobbied to kill, and which is currently is on life support in Congress.