Saturday Night Live's executive producer Lorne Michaels reserves the right to change his show right up to airing, the privilege of broadcasting live. Famously, Billy Crystal was part of the original cast and had a featured skit on the very first airing in October of '75, until Michaels cut it the day of broadcast and it took years for Crystal to officially join the cast. I offer this up as a caveat that it is not necessarily anything political that caused Michaels to cut the original cold open for last night's SNL episode, replacing it instead with a skit about CBS trying desperately to fill airtime during the 35 minute blackout during the Super Bowl. It is entirely possible that Michaels felt this was the funnier or more biting satire of which he likes to think SNL is capable. Whatever his reasoning, they did allow the dress rehearsal to be available online for comparison.
It is not hard to imagine the pearl clutching and cries of outrage (Outrage, I tell you!) had this skit gone out on the airwaves, depicting the blatant pandering and ridiculousness of the dialogue in Washington surrounding the hearing on the nomination of Chuck Hagel to the position of Secretary of Defense. I'm sure that Lindsey Graham and his BFF Grampy McCain would be issuing a proclamation of censure and a threat to deport Lorne Michaels back to Canada. How dare SNL mock the "When did you stop beating your wife?" line of questioning that the Republicans proffered to prove how much more they love the state of Israel? I'm still wondering if anyone in the Beltway media will ever wonder why blind obeisance to Israel is considered a requirement for holding an American political office.
Don't get me wrong, I believe Israel has a right to exist and a right to defend its borders. I'm just not sure that it should be a requirement that we have to act as an extension of that.
Personally, I thought Fred Armisen's imitation of Bernie Sanders was perfect and the skit was worth airing for that alone.