Sen. John McCain died Saturday at the age of 81 after discontinuing cancer treatment. The former Republican presidential nominee was often spoken of as a military hero, a political maverick and as someone with a bit of a temper. But he was far from a humorless politician.
McCain had a great sense of humor, in fact. Like many politicians running for president, he appeared on “Saturday Night Live.” The difference with McCain, though, was that he really seemed to relish the experience, making plenty of jokes at his own expense.
In one clip, seen below, McCain appears on the show’s “Weekend Update” to explain to host Seth Meyers his many outlandish ideas for shoring up votes in the 2008 presidential election. They include strategies like “The Reverse Maverick,” “The Double Maverick” and, our favorite, “The Sad Grandpa,” in which McCain is to appear on television and sadly proclaim, “Come on, Obama’s going to have plenty of chances to run for president ― it’s my turn!”
The Arizona senator could also dish it out, but in ways that weren’t mean-spirited. During the 2008 Alfred E. Smith dinner ― a tradition where both presidential candidates tell jokes and roast each other ― McCain dryly (and brilliantly) overhyped then-Sen. Barack Obama’s upcoming turn at the podium after claiming to have seen the transcript of his routine.
“You are all about to witness the funniest performance in the 63-year history of this event,” McCain said. “Let’s not add to the mounting pressure he must be feeling. Just prepare yourself for nonstop hilarity. The funniest 15 minutes of your life or any other.”
How do you follow that?
On “SNL,” he usually played himself, but in this sketch parodying a Lifetime movie, McCain plays a creepy husband who wants nothing more than to be close to his darling wife, played by Amy Poehler. It’s a long bit but worth watching.
McCain leaves behind a celebrated legacy. He was a decorated veteran and a lifelong public servant. And, as his onetime legislative partner, the former Sen. Russ Feingold, points out, “he was also really fun.”
It certainly looks like it.