Three things happened Saturday night: Tina Fey met her career maker on "Saturday Night Live," Sarah Palin showed she could laugh along with the joke and the space-time continuum remained intact. At least for now.
Palin's appearance was, no doubt, the most anticipated "SNL" event of the season -- preliminary numbers show it boosted the late-night comedy show to its highest ratings in 14 years.
Palin debuted during the cold open of the Oct. 18 episode, crashing a mock news conference helmed by Fey's version of her. Watching the real Palin walk past the woman who, pretty much single-handedly, crafted the national conception of her as "Caribou Barbie" was chilling, if not exactly LOL-funny.
Later, Palin took a seat on "SNL's" "Weekend Update." She pretended to chicken out of doing a rap about the McCain-Palin campaign, instead handing the microphone to Amy Poehler who spit rhymes like "I'm Jeremiah Wright 'cause tonight I'm the preacha//I got a bookish look and you're all hot for teacha. … All the mavericks in the house put your hands up" while attempting to raise the roof from her anchor chair.
Palin's on-camera time totaled maybe six minutes. But Sunday, the Alaska governor told WWOR-TV in New York that she had a great time and that she would guest again at the drop of a six-pack.
"I would do that again in a heartbeat," she said. "It was the most welcoming and friendly environment that you could imagine. Everyone was so nice, and you know, you have to have a sense of humor through all of this. You have to have some levity through this. Otherwise, it would really, I think, grind on you and wear you out."
The governor's glowing review of herself doesn't come as a surprise to New York comedian Sara Benincasa, who has been mocking Palin in YouTube videos since she signed onto the McCain campaign.
"Palin shows she can be goofy and fun. Clearly we know she's goofy. This will enable her to show that she has a good sense of humor about something other than moose and hockey," Benincasa told ABCNews.com in an interview before Saturday's show. "Inevitably Palin will think she did an awesome job. She lives in a world where everything Sarah does rocks."
Benincasa plans to riff on Palin's "SNL" stint in a video to be posted online later today. While Palin's appearance on "SNL" was, no doubt, a boon to the program, it remains to be seen whether it will matter come Nov. 4. Fey's impression of her is so ingrained in the public consciousness that Palin playing along with the joke now is practically a moot point.
"There's more fake Sarah Palins than fake Elvises," said Bob Thompson, a professor of pop culture at Syracuse University in New York.
"They've got in Tina Fey an uncanny matchup of comedian to object of impersonation," he said. "There's no way you can listen to Sarah Palin without sending it through all stuff that Tina Fey has been doing. You really have to look twice."
In an interview with ABCNews.com earlier this month, Thompson said he'd love to see the spoofer being spoofed, but he wasn't sure an "SNL" skit would be a smart move for Palin. Unlike Richard Nixon, who probably earned a few votes when he appeared on the '60s comedy show "Laugh In" and uttered its famous line, "Sock it to me," Palin's problem is not likability.