On ‘SNL’, The Writers Launch Their Charm Offensive

Fred Armisen as Roger A. Trivanti. Photo: Courtesy of NBC

This weekend's Saturday Night Live wasn't only a way for Brian Williams to show he's eight percent more funny on a comedy show than he is on the news. It also launched the Writers Guild's charm offensive! In a Weekend Update bit, Fred Armisen starred as "studio head" Roger A. Trivanti, a simpering caricature of a Hollywood mogul who parroted straw-man versions of the studios’ negotiation points. "Do you know how much it costs to manufacture a DVD?" Armisen asked, wearing ugly glasses and sporting a gross receding hairline. "Sixty cents! You know how much we charge? $29. The writers now want a bigger piece of the profit. What profit?!" "Trivanti" whined about his $20 million salary, complained that the writers strike meant he couldn't insulate his pool house with gold bricks, and finished up with the charming request that writers "get ass cancer and die."

Whew! Tally a point for the writers for this swell bit of demonization. And this is after they scored a point last week with Jon Stewart's shorthand explanation of the strike as being about studios claiming they don't know how they could ever make money off the Internet, followed by his dry mention that every episode of The Daily Show is online, "so support our advertisers!" C'mon, producers, the ball's in your court now. Surely you can find a way to get America on your side against the millionaire screenwriters and their gold brick-insulated pool houses.