McCain a big draw on Saturday Night Live

John McCain was a hit on Saturday Night Live, just not as big a hit as his running mate.


The Republican, who poked fun at his presidential campaign's financial shortcomings and his reputation as a political maverick in Saturday's appearance, led the show to its second-best overnight ratings since a December 1997 holiday episode.

NBC estimated yesterday that when the final national viewer estimate is known later this week, it will be a little less than 12 million people. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's appearance two weeks ago was seen by 15 million people, according to Nielsen Media Research.


The presidential hopeful made a cameo appearance at the beginning of the show, with Tina Fey reprising her memorable impersonation of Palin.

McCain, who is trailing Democrat Barack Obama in most battleground state polls, also appeared during the show's "Weekend Update" newscast to announce he would pursue a new campaign strategy in the closing days of the campaign.

"I thought I might try a strategy called the reverse maverick. That's where I'd do whatever anybody tells me," McCain said.

And if that didn't work, "I'd go to the double maverick. I'd just go totally berserk and freak everybody out," the Arizona senator quipped.

Def Jam executive dies from gunshot wound

The executive who succeeded Jay-Z as the head of hip-hop music label Def Jam Recordings died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound near Atlanta, police said yesterday.

Executive vice president Shakir Stewart, 34, died on Saturday, his New York-based label said in a statement.

Stewart was found Saturday afternoon in the bathroom of his home in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta, Cobb County police spokeswoman Cassie Reece said Sunday. He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.


Police described the shooting as self-inflicted and would not say who discovered Stewart.

Joaquin Phoenix says goodbye to films

The writing on Joaquin Phoenix's fists said it all.

The words "Good Bye" were penned on the actor's knuckles at a premiere Saturday night for his latest film, Two Lovers, and Phoenix confirmed a surprise announcement he made last week: He's giving up movies.

"I think it's just moving on. It's rediscovering something else," Phoenix, 34, said in an interview before Saturday's American Film Institute festival, which also premiered Che, starring Benicio Del Toro.

Phoenix first mentioned his decision to Extra early last week at a fundraiser in San Francisco. He ended that interview after the reporter wondered whether he was joking about giving up acting for music.



Composer John Barry, 75.

Singer Lulu, 60.

Actress-comedian Roseanne Barr, 56.

Actress Kate Capshaw, 55.

Comedian Dennis Miller, 55.


Singer Adam Ant, 54.