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Presidential mimicry

”SNL”?s Will Ferrell and Darrell Hammond make dress-up an art form

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During this comically chaotic election season, mocking the candidates was like shooting fish in a barrel. But thanks to the cutting impressions of Ferrell (as George W. Bush) and Hammond (as Al Gore), Saturday Night Live bypassed shooting and went directly to bludgeoning, garroting, and eviscerating, then selling the barrel for scrap. From summing up the pointlessness of the first debate in two words (lockbox and strategery) to a TV Land-worthy Odd Couple parody where the two in-limbo candidates share the White House, these two cast mates uplifted SNL’s ”let’s play dress-up” approach from mere mimicry to inspired political satire. The chameleonlike Hammond effortlessly passed himself the Democratic baton; while his Clinton was all in the pinched thumb, his Gore seems channeled out of a chin-tucking reflex, as if stifling a belch, to stress his ”I agree”s in a sleepy Tennessee drawl. Ferrell, on the other hand, dispenses with mirror imagery, taking a Chevy-as-Ford approach: Armed with only a faint Texas accent and a confused squint, the performance is pure simpleton, and simply scathing. (Giggles ”Bush” over a gum cartoon, ”Man, Bazooka Joe, you don’t have to throw a clock to see if time flies!”) In a word, hilarityous.