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The world awaits 'SNL's' Obama pick

February 21, 2008 |  8:58 am

Back in early November, Barack Obama made a big splash with a surprise appearance on "Saturday Night Live," playing himself in a skit poking fun at various Democratic presidential candidates (mainly, the then-front-runner, Hillary Clinton).

The writers strike hit a couple of days later, causing the show -- along with so many others -- to go dark. The lengthy labor dispute, as it turned out, postponed a tough casting call that now looms as "SNL" prepares to return to the airwaves with fresh material this weekend: Finding someone to portray Obama in its political parodies (the candidate himself, after all, is a bit busy these days).

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"SNL" major domo Lorne Michaels expects to make his choice later this week, he told USA Today. And as Michaels discussed the challenge of playing the part, it was clear he is among those to experience Obamamania.

"Finding a way to get people to laugh at him is complicated right now," he said. ...

"He's truly a heroic figure, and that is always hardest. People aren't seeing the cracks yet, but it will happen."

The New York Post reported that those under consideration include Kenan Thompson, the sole black member of the "SNL" troupe.

Thompson has proved a talented presence on the show, but his physique doesn't exactly match up with the tall, lean Obama. If he gets the nod, it truly will show how far he's progressed since Nickelodeon's "Kenan & Kel" sitcom, in which he played the heavyset part in an update of the tried-and-true Laurel & Hardy schtick.

-- Don Frederick

Photos: Spencer Platt / Getty Images and Darren Michaels / 20th Century Fox
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