Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski and Willie Geist celebrated the 10th anniversary of MSNBC’s Morning Joe program Tuesday by taking over Saturday Night Live‘s legendary Studio 8H at Rockefeller Center, in a live telecast with a studio audience, plenty of nostalgic clips and toasts from all over.
Speaking from Washington D.C., Arizona Senator John McCain – tongue set firmly in cheek – congratulated the team for “Ten years of fake news and deceiving the American people…I hope that I’m not on your program soon,” prompting applause from the audience and only slightly uncomfortable laughter from the hosts.
Also on tap for the celebration were three B’s: New York Mayor Bill De Blasio, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. At no time was there heard, at least in the opening minutes, the words “stunningly superficial,” first uttered December 30, 2008 by former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, late father of Mika, in response to some bloviation from Scarborough and since employed as a kind of insider honorific on the program. Indeed, one of the clips shown was of an angry Mika shredding a news release about Paris Hilton, exclaiming “No, I’m not going to do it!”
The show began with a sizzle reel of high points from the past decade, including poignant appearances by the late Meet The Press and NBC News Washington bureau chief Tim Russert, whose blessing gave the program a necessary imprimatur of legitimacy. “Tim gave [us] the stamp of approval,” Scarborough noted. Added show regular Mike Barnicle, “He had fun on air talking with us.”
NBC has commandeered the room for other anniversaries, including the network’s 75th. As for the studio itself, the room haunted with the ghosts of stunningly superficial comedians like John Belushi and Gilda Radner, 8H was decked throughout with Morning Joe banners that gave the program the look of a high school pep rally, which seemed apt.