Irascible and argumentative political TV pundit John McLaughlin passed away today following what he characterized as being “under the weather” and missing a taping of his show, The McLaughlin Group, for the first time in thirty-four years.
And while McLaughlin had staying power with his syndicated current affairs program — it aired on many public stations and a number of NBC owned and operated stations in the 1990s — many of a certain generation will remember him via a recurring sketch on Saturday Night Live in which Dana Carvey impersonated the host. As seen in this 1990 sketch, Carvey took McLaughlin’s tendency to cut off his guests to the next level by simply shouting “wrong!” at them.
For people like me, it was the gateway drug to politics.
Following the 1992 presidential election — and the SNL sketches — I found myself watching The McLaughlin Group for some time afterward. It was an early lesson in the nation’s political discourse and introduced me to people Pat Buchanan. He would later cause a local ruckus when he attempted to come to my high school during his presidential bid in 1996.
According to a post on The McLaughlin Group‘s Facebook page, McLaughlin was a former Jesuit priest and teacher before going into broadcasting. Thanks to Buchanan, he was also a speechwriter for Richard Nixon. He was 89.