'SNL' Uses Morgan Wallen's N-Word Controversy to Poke Fun at Itself on 'Weekend Update'

Saturday Night Live once again joked about Morgan Wallen's N-word controversy and the success of the country singer's music in the wake of the scandal. During "Weekend Update," co-anchor Colin Jost joked that if he said the N-word, the ratings for SNL would suddenly jump. Hours after Jost's joke, Billboard reported that Wallen's Dangerous: The Double Album topped the Billboard 200 album chart for the fifth consecutive week.

"It was reported that after Morgan Wallen lost his recording contract when it was reported he was caught on camera using the N-word, sales for his albums rose over 1,000%," Jost joked. "Proving my long-held theory that if NBC would just let me say it, the ratings would go up." Jost's co-anchor, Michael Che, just shook his head at that joke.

This was the second consecutive SNL "Weekend Update" segment to feature a joke about Wallen's controversy. Last week, after Che explained the "Whiskey Glasses" singer's situation, a picture of Wallen talking with Jost during Wallen's appearance on SNL in December showed up on the screen. "Hm, wonder where he learned that from," Che joked. Wallen was originally supposed to perform on SNL in October 2020, but after he violated the show's coronavirus safety protocols by partying, his performance was canceled. SNL then invited him back to perform in December.

Wallen's N-word scandal exploded on Feb. 2 when TMZ published a video of Wallen saying the racial slur multiple times as he walked to his Nashville home. He appeared inebriated and said other curses in the video, filmed by a neighbor. Wallen's recording contract was suspended, radio stations stopped playing his music, and several members of the country music world spoke out against him.

However, his music sales suddenly exploded. On Sunday, Billboard reported that his second album, Dangerous: The Double Album, scored its fifth straight week at the top of the album chart with 150,000 equivalent album units in the week ending on Feb. 11. His first album, 2018's If I Know Me, also jumped to the Top 10. Dangerous is the first country album to spend its first five weeks at the top of the chart since Shania Twain's Up in December 2002 to January 2003.


Although Wallen issued a short apology video when the scandal exploded, he issued another one on Feb. 10. He said he met with Black organizations and executives who "had every right to step on my neck while I was down, to not show me any grace, but they did the exact opposite." He said he was nine days sober and the video that went viral came after a 72-hour "bender."

At the end of the video, he said he appreciated those who supported him but asked fans to stop defending him, a possible reference to the sales of his music. "Lastly, I have one favor to ask. I appreciate those who still see something in me and have defended me," Wallen said. "But for today, please don't. I was wrong. It's on me. I take ownership for this and I fully accept any penalties I'm facing."