From NBC/NJ's Matthew E. Berger
NEW YORK -- Huckabee showed once again that he gets the joke, appearing on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" to explain why he hasn't conceded the Republican nomination to McCain and outstaying his welcome.
Huckabee appeared on the "Weekend Update" segment of the show, which made its return after a prolonged absence because of the strike by the Writers Guild of America. He chatted with anchor Seth Myers about the "mathematical impossibility" that he could win.
"The media loves to throw around the term 'mathematical impossibility,' but no one can ever explain what that means to me," he said, eliciting an explanation from Myers that even if Huckabee won every remaining delegate, he would be 200 short.
"Wow," Huckabee said. "That was an excellent explanation, but I'm afraid that you overlooked the all-important superdelegates, don't forget about them," he said. Superdelegates are only in the Democratic primaries, Myers reminded him.
"Uh oh, that's not good news," Huckabee said. "You know Seth, I was counting on those superdelegates."
But the real joke came when Huckabee's segment drew to a close. "Mike Huckabee does not overstay his welcome," he said, referring to his candidacy. "When it's time to go, I'll know. And I'll exit out with class and grace." But after two rounds of applause, he was still there, smiling and waving. It took a gentle reminder from Myers to get him off stage.
Huckabee has appeared on The Colbert Report and other political satire shows in recent weeks, finding humor in his continued participation in the Republican race. He joins a long list of politicians who have appeared on "SNL," including McCain and former Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, both of whom were guest hosts. And Obama made an appearance last fall.
Huckabee arrived in New York Saturday and taped "Geraldo At Large" before arriving at NBC Studios in the evening for rehearsals, accompanied by his wife, Janet and daughter, Sarah.
As tradition dictates, Huckabee returned at the end of the show, to be thanked by guest host Tina Fey. After the show ended, he told NBC/National Journal that the experience was "a blast."
"It was one of the coolest things I've ever got to do," he said.
Huckabee said he had first been in touch with executive producer Lorne Michaels and head writer Seth Myers last week, batting around ideas. Huckabee said he suggested the idea that perhaps his time as a presidential candidate had passed. Huckabee and his staff attended the after party Saturday night, adding to their sleep deprivation.
With months of political material to choose from, "Saturday Night Live" opened by poking fun at the media's fascination with Obama, satiring a CNN debate with anchors gushing over Obama and allowing "Obama Girl" to sing his praises in lieu of a question. Many had wondered whether the show would hire someone new to play Obama, because the show's only black character is stocky Kenan Thompson. In the end, they opted for veteran Fred Armisen, who is white.