Note to Tina Fey

That latest sketch with Katie Couric? Much too broad. You have to make “Sarah Palin” credible as a governor. She can’t just babble.

Look, your “Palin” character was brilliant to start with, but some of this stuff is just over the top. In the story, she’s supposed to be the Governor of Alaska, and a major-party nominee for Vice President. The character needs more “Commander in Chief” and less Gracie Allen.

COURIC: You’ve cited Alaska’s proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?

PALIN: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and on our other side, the land– boundary that we have with– Canada. It– it’s funny that a comment like that was– kind of made to– cari- I don’t know, you know? Reporters –


PALIN: Yeah, mocked, I guess that’s the word, yeah.

COURIC: Explain to me why that enhances your foreign policy credentials.

PALIN: Well, it certainly does because our – our next door neighbors are foreign countries. They’re in the state that I am the executive of. And there in Russia –

COURIC: Have you ever been involved with any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?

PALIN: We have trade missions back and forth. We – we do – it’s very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where – where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border. It is – from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to – to our state.


All right, it’s funny, but on sort of a Three Stooges level. No real satiric bite. Too broad. Much, much too broad. A real conservative Republican VP candidate wouldn’t have a conservative pundit like Rod Dreher comparing her to an underprepared college student and describing her as “just babbling.”

Tone. It. Down. Really.

If your point is to satirize the “John McCain” character, then they have to appear together, with him ogling her butt as he did at the first rollout. Now that was comedy.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: