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B udget cuts may have been no laughing matter for the Saturday Night Live cast last week (departing players Horatio Sanz, Finesse Mitchell, and Chris Parnell were surely unamused by the prospect of not having Norm MacDonald’s career), but Manhattan remained the world’s capital of geopolitical stand-up. Live from New York, the U.N. hosted a yukfest that featured President Bush, whose straight-faced bit about “peace in the Holy Land” absolutely killed. Scruffy Iranian cut-up Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stifled a chuckle as he told Dachau witness Maurice Greenberg that he needed to see “more impartial studies” to prove that the Holocaust was real. A rookie on the circuit, Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, slayed ’em with his reference to the recently departed Bush as “the devil,” noting that the room “still smells of sulfur.” (Is it possible that U.N. translators garbled a hilarious South American fart gag?) Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf—an assassination target in his own country but feeling knee-slappingly giddy on his first visit to America’s newly reconfirmed “Safest City”—needled Pope Benedict XVI, who was stuck in Rome, churning out droll “apologies” to the world’s Muslims for citing a text that labeled Muhammad’s teachings “evil and inhuman.” Across town at the Clinton Global Initiative, Bubba polished his “who invited her?” routine with First Lady Laura Bush. The Mets’ first division title since 1988 was an absolute scream, and Jason Giambi was seen hugging A-Rod in the Yankees’ champagne-soaked locker room, leading some to think he’d been kidding when he accused Joe Torre of “coddling” Rodriguez. With a Subway Series on the horizon, the MTA proposed and then retracted a slate of service cuts, leaving straphangers feeling happily punked. But the Bloomberg-Pataki plan to move state and federal offices into overpriced space in the empty Freedom Tower bombed with the workers themselves. In the end, even serious actress Lindsay Lohan got into the act, executing a pratfall at a Fashion Week party, thus updating an old Henny Youngman joke by breaking her wrist in two places.

Have good intel? Send tips to intel@nymag.com.


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