SNL Commentary on Women in Hollywood- Karly Morgan

Karly Morgan

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Saturday Night Live recently produced a skit called Actress Round Table, which featured cast members doing impersonations of famous actresses talking about what it’s like to be a woman in Hollywood. The currently working actresses touched on issues such as stereotyping women in mothering roles and being judged by appearance rather than intellect, but Debette Goldry (Kate McKinnon) took it a step further. She touched on some huge issues concerning women in Hollywood that have spanned decades.

First, she talks about how she was drugged to perform. She called it “drugs to wake up, drugs to keep me quiet, drugs to go to sleep”. She talked about how her male producers would give her shots of opium between her toes to keep her quiet, and then give her other drugs to wake her for performances. This is a comedy skit, but male producers drugging female actresses is a real problem. Second, she talks about how a producer demanded she have sex with him to get the role. This practice is well documented in the history of Hollywood, and it’s just as horrible now as it was then. She satirically called it “a fair trade”. Third, she talks about payment. She discusses that it was in her contract that she had to entertain troops for free. She then goes on to joke that she didn’t realize it was for the other side, and she ended up performing for Nazi’s. Again, while this is a comedy skit, the issue of sneaking clauses into contracts to control women is nothing new. Alfred Hitchcock was notorious for trying to control the lives of “his” actresses. Fourth, when another actress brings up the idea that there needs to be more women writing roles, she says, “Women, writers? First you’d have to teach them how to read.” She then says that there was a role that they cast a horse in instead of her because it could pretend to read better than she could. It’s a fact- there aren’t enough female writers in Hollywood. We’ve studied the statistics in Professor Dalton’s class for years, and the bottom line is we need more women in the writing room.

I love Saturday Night Live, and the way they fearlessly tackle big issues. I felt that this particular skit was extremely relevant to our class because it satirizes the way women in Hollywood have been treated in the modern era. I’ll attach the link to the video so you can watch it yourself!


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6 Responses to SNL Commentary on Women in Hollywood- Karly Morgan

  1. mediaphiles says:

    This is an extremely interesting and relevant topic that I think is often forgotten by us today. We hear about more advances for women in various fields on a daily basis, which makes it easy to forget that there are still major issues of sexism in Hollywood. Female actresses are received well on the screen by viewers, but its important to realize what may be going on behind the scenes. SNL did a great job of bringing these issues into the light, but instead of letting the humor in the skit make us lazy, it should encourage us to fight against and change these issues in Hollywood today.
    -Lacey Worsham

  2. mediaphiles says:

    I love this type of skit and could argue that it’s one of the most effective ways to satirize politics – to have one character that is so outlandish but, at the same time, is one that is highlighting real issues is the perfect combination for making a serious statement that an audience can still laugh at. And Kate McKinnon is so damn funny that I think she’s a perfect choice for this type of character. Karly, I think you did a great job analyzing this piece and I think brought out every issue that was mentioned in the skit – great job!

    -Kristina Kokkonos

  3. mediaphiles says:

    I actually love the fact that all of these accomplished actresses are satirizing gender issues like this because they’re sending the message that this is something so absurd and ridiculous that it’s literally a joke. I also love that they fearlessly tackle sensitive issues like this and I love how they are bringing positivity (and humor!) to something that could otherwise get fairly nasty. This clip definitely deserves more attention than it has been getting.

    -Sam Moore

  4. mediaphiles says:

    I haven’t seen this sketch yet, but I LOVE when female actresses address these issues. Embellishing the story in such a way allows the audience to laugh while still considering the impact of the true problem. While an actress is probably not literally injected with opium, the impact is the same as if she were given a sedative or any kind of mind altering substance. Women are often faced with the option to advance their careers in exchange for sex, but this concept is kept quiet. Each subject they address is pertinent across different sectors of the workforce, and using their platform to bring light to some of these issues is amazing. Amy Schumer has done many similar sketches using the same idea of actresses talking about their experiences. Her show featured a sketch with Tina Fey, Julia Louis Dreyfus, and Patricia Arquette, in which they satirized the notion of not being able to work after reaching a certain age. They laugh at the fact that many female actresses and comedians are devalued as they get older, while men do not have the same experience. Women’s issues are so prevalent in society, and addressing it in a public, comedic forum creates a new platform for change.

    Arianna Gershon

  5. mediaphiles says:

    Thanks for the comments! I totally agree with you. While this is an exaggerated satire, I think it does a good job of pointing out critical issues.

    Karly Morgan

  6. marymdalton says:

    Good post!

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