Saturday Night Live and the 1976 Presidential Election

A New Voice Enters Campaign Politics


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About the Book

Two events in 1976 had enduring effects on American culture—the debut of Saturday Night Live and the presidential election pitting Gerald Ford against Jimmy Carter. With its mix of sketch comedy and music, SNL grabbed huge ratings and several Emmys in its first season and made household names of its seven original cast members. While fighting for the Republican presidential nomination (and his political survival) President Ford allowed his press secretary, Ron Nessen, to guest-host SNL—the first politician to do so. Ford also appeared on the show, via video tape, to offer a comic counterpunch to Chevy Chase’s signature line, “I’m Chevy Chase and you’re not.” In the election seasons that followed, it became a rite of passage for politicians establishing a national profile to appear on SNL, while the show’s treatment of them and their platforms has had a continuing impact on political discourse.

About the Author(s)

William T. Horner is Professor of Political Science and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Political Science at the University of Missouri.
M. Heather Carver is Professor of Theatre and Department Chair in the Department of Theatre at the University of Missouri. She is the co-director of the university’s Theatre Writing for Performance Program which received the 2017 Gold Medallion from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

Bibliographic Details

William T. Horner and M. Heather Carver
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7184-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3059-5
Imprint: McFarland