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Satire Is What Opens ‘Saturday Night’

November 16, 2008 8:30 PM

The truth is at least as strange as fiction.

Martin Eisenstadt

Political pranksters Dan Mirvish and Eitan Gorlin, hot off the blogospheric ascension and equally fast outing of their creation Martin Eisenstadt, are hoping to use their newfound fame to get their TV pilot off the ground.

Before the fictional Mr. Eisenstadt took credit for leaking Sarah Palin’s confusion about Africa to the world, the filmmakers had been shopping a pilot based on the pundit character. Mr. Mirvish said the single-camera comedy, called “The Pundit,” would be “about this sort of Frasier Crane-meets-Stephen Colbert type character” and the people who work with him at his think tank.

However, in pitch meetings before Eisenstadt’s exposure, Mr. Mirvish said, they were told, “The appetite for political satire on television is very limited.” There’s Jon Stewart and Mr. Colbert, and that’s about it.

But “Saturday Night Live’s” record ratings thanks to its political satire gives Mr. Mirvish hope. After all, he and Mr. Gorlin can take a little of the credit for that lift. The rumor that Barack Obama would appear on the NBC show on the Saturday before the election, according to Mr. Mirvish, originated on EisenstadtGroup.com, the faux pundit’s blog. It was picked up by numerous mainstream media outlets and was credited for boosting tune-in for the episode, which in fact boasted guest star John McCain.

Where does satire end and reality begin? Don’t ask Martin Eisenstadt!

—Lisa D. Horowitz

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