Who Better to Play George Santos Than ‘The Liar,’ Jon Lovitz?
Every comedy show is now required by state and federal law to employ a George Santos. Saturday Night Live trotted out two sketches with Bowen Yang as the embattled congressman. Jimmy Kimmel Live! tapped Veep’s Nelson Franklin to portray Santos. What We Do In The Shadows’ Harvey Guillén did the honors for Stephen Colbert. But the most inspired casting choice was over at The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, which tapped the original Liar, Jon Lovitz, to fib it up. After all, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if the real Santos claimed to be married to … Morgan Fairchild, yeah, that’s it!
It’s easy to understand why all the late-night shows are climbing over one another to get their Santos characters on the air. The material writes itself, and in some cases, Santos writes it for them. One of Lovitz’s biggest laughs centers around the fact that his Santos isn’t Jewish, just Jew-ish, a claim the real-life Santos made himself.
What makes Lovitz the perfect Santos is that lying is already baked into his comedy persona. His first breakout character on Saturday Night Live was Tommy Flanagan, president of Pathological Liars Anonymous and clearly the proto-Santos. Yeah, that’s the ticket.
Ironically, the Liar’s popularity was one reason Lovitz left SNL on less-than-ideal terms. “I was supposed to do a Liar movie and it didn’t work out,” he says in Live From New York: The Complete, Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live. “And so that caused problems between Lorne and me.”
Where Lovitz’s story about his SNL departure goes from there sounds straight out of the Flanagan/Santos playbook. See if you can follow this: “So I would say stuff about (Lorne Michaels) and it would get back to him, because I was angry about it. So it would get tougher for me to get pieces on. And then, you know, he was mad at me. I mean he just was. He was mad at me for the next four years. And then he was mad at me for leaving the show for six or seven years. Because I left. What happened was, he was mad. I mean, everybody would talk about him, but for some reason, everything I said got back to him. I wasn’t saying anything different than anybody else. I would never say it in public and I still won’t, because— because the guy hired me, you know, and he gave me the opportunity of a lifetime. So my beef with him was more about, I thought we were friends and I heard he said stuff about me.”
Whew! Any producers out there considering a Jon Lovitz biopic? Once he’s done with Congress, you might want to consider George Santos to play the title role.