Amid its own bout of controversy surrounding new cast member Melissa Villaseñor, NBC’s sketch comedy staple “Saturday Night Live” (“SNL”) dove right into contemporary racial and political issues during its 42nd season premiere on Saturday (October 1).
“Weekend Update” co-host Michael Che—who portrayed journalist Lester Holt in the opening sketch spoofing the recent presidential debate—addressed that showdown during the satirical news segment. “It felt like I was watching a divorced couple fight for custody of a kid that hates them both,” he said, adding, “it sounded like Brad [Pitt] and Angelina [Jolie], but if Brad Pitt only wanted to keep the White kids.”
But Che made headlines when he let an uncensored n-word slip while he and co-host Colin Jost discussed 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s ongoing decision to kneel during the pre-game national anthem to protest police violence. Che channelled the conversation surrounding Bill Cosby while talking about the backlash Kaepernick faces from people, particularly White men, upset with his protest:
It’s mostly White guys that are upset, and I can understand why White guys love the national anthem so much: because this country’s always been great for White guys. You absolutely should defend the national anthem. If I was White, I’d always defend the national anthem. I expect White guys to defend the National Anthem like I expected Phylicia Rashad to defend Bill Cosby. I’m sure when people were protesting “The Cosby Show,” ‘Clair Huxtable’ was like, ‘I don’t know what he did to y’all, but nigga made me rich!’” And I’m sure it’s an inconvenient time to bring up such a heavy issue, during a football game, but it’s a protest, it’s supposed to be inconvenient. That’s the whole point of a protest. … Listen, Colin Kaepernick is not the only one trying to raise awareness during a football game for a sad cause. They’re turning uniforms pink for breast cancer [awareness] tomorrow, and nobody’s upset about that. I bet if the police went around shooting unarmed boobies, everybody would take a knee!
The episode’s closing sketch dealt with another scandal, this one involving cast member Leslie Jones and the hackers who leaked nude photos of her this summer on the heels of continuous racist harrassment. In a parody of USA’s cyber thriller “Mr. Robot,” the real Jones hires the show’s fictional protagonist to find the person who leaked her photos. A strange surprise waits at the end.
What did you think of the “SNL” season premiere? Let us know in the comments.