SNL and Politics- Ayla Acosta


If you are anything like me, you might be slightly obsessed with Saturday Night Live. SNL is a judgement free zone where almost anything goes, and that makes me oh so happy, but sometimes uncomfortable. For instance, this past Saturday SNL centered almost every skit around the Presidential debate. The first skit was a play on the debate, but for me and some of my friends who watched as well, it was just as humorous as the real debate- in other words, what a voting year. There were moments, however that made me ask “can they really say that?” This moment came from the Weekend Update performance when Colin Jost and Michael Che were discussing the protest against the National Anthem. With what was an awkward presentation of an even more dulling joke, the two co-anchors horribly attempted to make a light situation out of a pretty serious larger debate. Calling the National Anthem boring, poking fun that “of course” white people love the National Anthem (even thought the anthem is a representation of those who fought and died for our country INCLUDING people of all races who participated in the war), and so on. The one good thing that came out of this ‘report’ was the quote about a protest: “I’m sure it’s an inconvenient time to bring up such a heavy subject during a football game, but it’s a protest; it’s supposed to be inconvenient. It’s a protest.” Which I totally agree with.

But again, SNL is a place where anything goes. Especially making jokes about racial slurs and hatred of a National symbol that represents ALL races. Heck, even the audience sounded like they were being forced to laugh at this segment. All I could imagine was a cue card that says “LAUGH” being held up to the audience.

Also: #ilovestefon

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11 Responses to SNL and Politics- Ayla Acosta

  1. mediaphiles says:

    I watched the clip and I do agree that the joke didn’t exactly land as well as it was probably supposed to – to be honest, I thought the entire segment was a bit fumbling and awkward. I’m sure it was just the nerves from it being the first Weekend Update of the season (and Jost/Che’s first fall premiere in an election year), so it’s somewhat understandable. That being said, I’m a little confused by what you’re saying in the post – do you think the Kaepernick joke fell flat because it was TOO controversial? I’m not sure I understand the context of your references to the flag and national anthem being representative of all races, either. If you get a chance to respond to this let me know your thoughts! By the way, I also #lovestefon.
    -Kristina Kokkonos

  2. mediaphiles says:

    Most jokes that are too controversial tend to fall flat because they become too real for the audience. The audience realizes that what is being joked about is a serious topic that even they would not joke about with their closest friends and its uncomfortable to laugh at such things when surrounded by your peers. I know that when someone makes a very controversial joke around me and others I tend to just stare at them as if to say “why did you just say that? Really?” Also I believe the reference to the national anthem being representative of all races fits in with what the skit was making fun of, which was “of course white people love the national anthem”. Everyone loves the national anthem because it represents all Americans and she was making clear to her readers that SNL frequently says jokes that are HIGHLY controversial, which that joke was.

    – turner arrington

  3. mediaphiles says:

    I agree- there are without a doubt many times that I find myself asking the same question: can you really say that?? I guess SNL is known for pushing boundaries. I think it is important to have a platform for content that is essentially modern “vaudeville”, and I think that is why SNL has remained so popular across America! – Kelsey Sierra

  4. mediaphiles says:

    I love SNL, but I think sometimes there are some topics that just shouldn’t be carried onto their show. I’m not necessarily sure how I feel about it, although I can understand why they did it…the debate did make me chuckle quite a couple times. As mentioned above, it may have been too controversial.

    Alexandra Peralta

  5. mediaphiles says:

    I love SNL too, but I think they always hyper focus on politics during election years. While they do make fun of both parties, I think sometimes it’s over the top and the entire show becomes a political conversation. Some iconic political sketches, such as Will Ferrell as George Bush and Tina Fey as Sarah Palin, will always be funny, but the entire episode does not need to be about politics. They definitely cross the line in a cringe worthy way at times, but keep the scope broad instead of only making fun of one side. SNL is supposed to be satirical so it will inevitably be offensive to someone, but their objective is to laugh at society. In some ways this reminds me of the magicom, but with a more thinly veiled political agenda.

    Arianna Gershon

  6. mediaphiles says:

    The joke about “of course white people like the national anthem” seems to be attempting to highlight the fact that, while the national anthem is supposed to be for all Americans, not all Americans have equal access to the rights of being a citizen of the “land of the free” due to the systemic oppression this country is plagued with–racial oppression in this instance. White people love it because we get full(er) access to that freedom; we get to take a lot for granted when it comes to “being an American.” So when we here the national anthem we get to think, “Yeah, that’s me!”
    Protesting the national anthem is calling attention to the discrepancies between the ideal that the anthem represents and the reality for many people–something that my whiteness allows me to go through life without experiencing first hand. (My femaleness, is another matter).

    Leah Haynes

  7. mediaphiles says:

    Karly Morgan

    I totally agree with you. I love SNL, I’m obsessed, and anything goes- which means sometimes there are lines that are just painful to hear.

  8. marymdalton says:

    Good conversation.

  9. mediaphiles says:

    I think this is why I love SNL so much … because it is a forum where we can finally address issues without being politically correct. This forces people to face reality and come to terms with what is going on in the world. –Jenna Romano

  10. mediaphiles says:

    I have not seen this skit but as soon as I saw the two pictures included in the blog, I literally thought they were Donald and Hillary at first glance. I love SNL and all of the other tv platforms who are not afraid to provide comedic relief about tense or stressful issues in today’s society. Although some things said I agree can be a little overdone, they are always quickly laughed off or switched to the next scene. I think this is so important to have in society today especially with all of the different political, cultural, and social implications taking place.
    Kendall Fischlein

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