Tina Fey repeats her role as Sarah Palin on ‘SNL’

Dana Edelson, The Associated Press

Dana Edelson, The Associated Press

By Jake Coyle

NEW YORK – Tina Fey reprised her role as Sarah Palin on “Saturday Night Live,” again appearing as the Republican vice presidential candidate in an opening sketch.

Saturday night’s show – the third of the season for the NBC comedy program – brought back the season premiere tandem of Fey and Amy Poehler, who opened the season with a memorable sketch featuring Fey as Palin and Poehler as Hillary Clinton.

This time around, Poehler played CBS’s Katie Couric, parodying the interview with Palin earlier this week. Poehler mostly played straight man to Fey, who ratchetted up her performance of Sen. John McCain’s running mate by satirizing her foreign affairs experience.

When Poehler’s Couric pushed Fey’s Palin to specifically discuss how she would help facilitate democracy abroad, Fey gave in: “Katie, I’d like to use one of my lifelines. … I want to phone a friend.”

When a confused Poehler informed her that that wasn’t how the interview worked, Fey’s Palin responded – alluding to one of the governor’s most quoted lines from the interview – “Well, in that case, I’m just gonna have to get back to ya.”

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    Fey, a former cast member and head writer of “SNL,” has seemingly been thrust back into regular appearances on the program despite her full-time gig with NBC’s “30 Rock.”

    She is widely considered to look like Palin, and “SNL” executive producer Lorne Michaels persuaded her to ride the show’s hot hand. Her first appearance as the Alaskan governor two weeks ago was a huge hit, helping boost the premiere’s ratings and garnering attention online.

    Fey wasn’t the only former cast member who returned Saturday night. Chris Parnell came back to play presidential debate moderator Jim Lehrer in a sketch that parodied Friday night’s contest between McCain and Democratic rival Barack Obama – which occurred less than 27 hours earlier than the live “SNL” broadcast.

    The sketch mainly played up McCain’s attempts to shake up the debate process, as Darrell Hammond’s McCain urged his opponent to join him in “nude or seminude” town hall meetings.

    At the outset, Parnell announced: “Throughout the debate, I will urge you both to look at one another up to and beyond the point it becomes uncomfortable.”