Michael Che Responds After 'SNL' Accused of Cultural Appropriation

Saturday Night Live co-head writer Michael Che has responded to the backlash to this weekend's sketch "Gen Z Hospital." The sketch sparked some heated conversations on Twitter this weekend by equating crediting young social media users in general with words and phrases that mostly came from AAVE — African American Vernacular English. To Che, the controversy was just an overblown way of saying that his sketch was not popular.

"This Gen Z hospital skit on SNL is so stupid. I'm so tired of non-black people throwing random AAVE terms in their sentences and calling that horse s— 'Gen Z language,'" one person wrote in a tweet that about summed up the backlash. Che responded in an Instagram post that has since been deleted, where he took credit for writing this sketch himself, and thus took responsibility for its backlash and its failure. He wrote: "I've been reading about how my 'gen z' sketch was misappropriating AAVE."

However, Che also cast doubt on the sincerity of the backlash by writing: "I was stunned because what the f— is 'AAVE'? I had to look it up. Turns out it's an acronym for 'African American Vernacular English.' You know, AAVE! That ol' saying that actual Black people use in conversation all the time..."

"Look the sketch bombed. I'm used to that," Che continued. "I meant no offense to the 'AAVE' community. I love AAVE. AAVE to the moon... If I could stop one person from calling everybody bro and bestie, I'm happy with that."

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Many users laughed at the irony of Che writing this sketch about young peoples' slang without knowing the term AAVE, which has come into common use on Twitter in similar recent debates. Many culture critics still side-eye the wide use of AAVE terms on TikTok, perceiving a direct pipeline between creative turns of phrase and cultural appropriation there.

Che also caught some flack for including the phrase "to the moon" in his post — a not-so-subtle nod to this week's controversial host Elon Musk. All in all, SNL had plenty of more controversial moments this week than "Gen Z Hospital" to worry about. You can stream the whole episode on Hulu, which is available here with a free trial.

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