After a courageous battle with brain cancer, John McCain passed away last night at the age of 81. While senators, presidents, journalists and other dignitaries have spent much of last night and this morning celebrating and remembering John McCain, so has Saturday Night Live, where McCain hosted in 2002 and made several cameos over the years, most notably by appearing on the show three days before the 2008 election, which he lost to Barack Obama.
On that November 1st, 2008 appearance, John McCain appeared in the cold open, wherein he practically conceded to Obama while also standing alongside Tina Fey as she took McCain’s running mate Sarah Palin to the comedy cleaners. It was an extraordinary sketch for the way in which he reminded us of McCain’s sense of humor while not-to-subtly distancing himself from his running mate in the final days of the campaign.
As politicians go, McCain was not only funny, but he had a great sense of humor about himself. On “Weekend Update” on the episode before the election, McCain also tested out some new campaign strategies, like The Maverick, The Double Maverick, The Sad Grandpa, and The Forrest Gump.
Meanwhile, here he is months before that 2008 election encouraging the Democrats not to make a decision between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and just put them both on the November ballot, or maybe “kick the tires” on John Edwards again.
Not all of his humor was political. Take, for instance, this spectacular 2002 sketch in which McCain played a stalker in a Lifetime movie.
In the wake of his death, John Mulaney took to Twitter to remind the world just how funny McCain was, recalling a moment in that episode a few days before the 2008 election.
NBC executive Rick Ludwin — the guy who greenlit Seinfeld — also recalled how gracious and generous he was after hosting SNL in 2002.
Composer Katreese Barnes also recalls the “privilege” of writing arrangements for a John McCain sketch in which he hilariously performed Barbara Streisand songs.
John McCain will lie in state in both Arizona and Washington, D.C., before he is buried in the cemetery at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. May he rest in peace.