Humorism readers, I have a special treat for you today: a rare artifact from comedy’s history and indeed American history, never before seen by the public eye. Fresh from the results of a FOIA request I sent to the William J. Clinton Presidential Library nine months ago, I present to you, drumroll please, Bill and Hillary Clinton’s invitation to the Saturday Night Live 25th anniversary special taping on September 26th, 1999:
What a beauty. I’m particularly fond of the British spellings—or Canadian, I suppose—of “honor” and “favor,” as though the event were some sort of royal affair. That’s always been the most interesting thing about SNL, to me: the tension between its ostensibly anti-establishment ethos and the immense, king-making power it's built in Hollywood, vested primarily in one guy with a lifetime appointment who loves to hang out with celebrities and politicians. See, relatedly, the annual holiday card Clinton sent Michaels starting in 1996 (it's unclear when the photo was taken):
Unfortunately the former President and First Lady couldn’t make the special, a star-studded affair featuring Al Green, the Beastie Boys, and a sketch where Mike Myers assures Michaels he's not the inspiration for Dr. Evil. Here’s the form rejection Clinton’s scheduling office sent on August 5, 1999:
And just to round things out, here’s Clinton’s official schedule for the day of the celebration:
Will Bill and Hillary make the 50th anniversary special in two years or thereabouts, pending the AMPTP’s willingness to come to the table with the WGA and SAG-AFTRA? Stay tuned to the Humorism newsletter for future developments.
Until next time,
PS: thank you to everyone who replied to yesterday’s email. I’m making my way through the responses and will be in touch shortly.