Saturday Night Live played a dangerous game on the latest episode as Weekend Update hosts Michael Che and Colin Jost prepared jokes for each other to read in what amounted to an offensiveness contest.
Che and Jost have a reputation for pushing the envelope. Despite SNL's reputation for having a liberal bias, at times, the two head writers have taken some flack from the left for jokes that are deemed insensitive or too blunt. For some, that was certainly the case this week as the two exchanged "Christmas gifts" on the air.
"Since Christmas is coming up, Che and I decided our gifts to each other would be jokes," Jost explained.
"Yeah, so we're making each other read jokes live on air that the other person has never seen before," Che went on. The crowd seemed excited by the premise, which took their segment in some strange directions. Right off the bat, Jost was forced to read a joke that mocked a Christian nativity scene, while Che was given a joke about masturbation.
Things only got more heated from there. Che wrote a joke forcing Jost to say "even Africans can't tell black people apart" and another where he had to describe Rosa Parks as "uppity." Che had a slightly easier time of it, with Jost writing a lewd punchline about Hurricane Florence that would not have been too out of place in a normal segment of the show.
If they were looking to stoke confused outrage on social media, Che and Jost got their wish. For hours, Twitter users argued over whether the bit could be "counted" as offensive, given the premise. Of course, many were confused by the whole idea, and seemed to have missed the part where the hosts explained that they had written the jokes for one another.
RIP, @ColinJost. #BlackTwitter is going to bury you seven feet under for having the audacity to use the word "uppity" when doing a bit about Rosa Parks. Honestly can't believe that really just happened, on national television, no less. Wtf @nbcsnl— Fawn (@InsertBambiJoke) December 16, 2018
"RIP, [Colin Jost]," one person wrote. "#BlackTwitter is going to bury you seven feet under for having the audacity to use the word 'uppity' when doing a bit about Rosa Parks. Honestly can't believe that really just happened, on national television, no less. Wtf @nbcsnl."
Of course, others jumped to Jost's defense, and spent a lot of time explaining to confused viewers the idea behind the whole skit. Still, the visceral reaction goes to show that the segment may have been more trouble than it was worth, especially considering Jost's reputation for taking it too far in the past.0comments
Many also seemed to confused Che and Jost with real journalists, including the president himself. In a tweet on Sunday morning, he referred to the show as a "Democrat spin machine," and suggested taking NBC to court of defamation.
Either way, fans will now get a break from SNL for a while. The show is on a break for the holidays and will return next year.