'SNL' Takes on 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer' Bullying Controversy

Saturday Night Live gave a new take on the story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer this weekend, with Pete Davidson in the pivotal role.

The skit offered a more gritty take on bullying than its original. It began with the familiar scene of all the other reindeer mocking Rudolph for his nose, confident that his glowing nose would keep him off of the team leading Santa Claus' sleigh. However, when Santa — played by host Jason Momoa — entered the room to ask Rudolph to lead, the red-nosed reindeer got a little vindictive.

"Gee, thanks Santa I won't let you down!" Rudolph said in an innocent voice. Then, dropping his tone to a more menacing register, he turned to his fellow reindeer.

"Well, well, well," he said.

The scene that followed featured an angry Rudolph taking revenge on the rest of the team. He turned down their sudden acceptance, mocking several of them and speaking with an explicit swagger.

When the other reindeer threatened to tell Santa how Rudolph was behaving, he reverted to his innocent tone in an instant. Santa returned and admonished the rest of the reindeer for continuing to bully him, while Rudolph made a smug camera take.

In the end, Rudolph made another reindeer (Beck Bennett) put his nose in his mouth, convincing Santa to shoot him because he had rabies. The skit then finished with Davidson singing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" in a hip-hop cadence, adding a cry of "Gang!" between the lines.

The skit had all the best Saturday Night Live tropes rolled into one. It turned a recognizable icon on its head and escalated the drama to a ludicrous height. It even found room for a fart joke, as Rudolph threatened: "I'm going to be eating a lot of broccoli tonight" to the reindeer who would be flying behind him.

SNL has had an explosive season as the cast and crew try to offer a healthy balance of political commentary and regular humor. The show has had some big wings with viral sketches and huge celebrity guest stars, though it has also been criticized for over-simplifying issues and being repetitive.

In the last few weeks, even prominent voices on the left have expressed frustration with SNL over a few segments and tired jokes. A major one was the drama surrounding Republican Congressman Dan Crenshaw, who was brought on the show for an apology after Davidson mocked his appearance. Some felt that his appearance falsely portrayed him as a moderate, despite him having been knowingly associated with a white supremacist group in the past.


Another point of contention is the continuing jokes about a sexual relationship between President Donald Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Even to some of the president's detractors, this form of exaggeration is getting tiresome, as it is homophobic in its own way.

Saturday Night Live airs every weekend at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBC.