SNL Sketch Mess: “S” for Slavery


How about that ignorant Saturday Night Live sketch last night featuring Leslie Jones?

Essentially, Jones, one of these writers and Black female performers we were all so excited to see join the cast, tapped into her inner Butterfly McQueen.  She shouted, cavorted and confused the audience in a tone deaf “Weekend Update” that somehow went from Jones admiring Lupita Nyong’o’s beauty to fantasizing about her own dating prospects as a slave wench.  At one point, she referred to herself as a Mandingo.

**blank stare**

Yeah.  We don’t think it makes sense either, so watch it again here and let us know what you think was happening.

The blogosphere is already giving Jones a much-deserved tongue-lashing for making a  mockery of slavery, rape, and the destruction of the African family– in that order.  But while they drag her through Twitter by her flat top style, we thought back to other recent SNL skits that addressed a horrible period in African American history with mixed results.

1. “12 Years Not a Slave”
Laughs were in short supply when Jay Pharoah took a pass at being a newly freed slave who isn’t quite clued in on the resentment from the Whites in his midst. His awkward obliviousness to racists made him sound more like Hermain Cain or V. Stiviano in a sketch that was much more uncomfortable than eye opening.


2. “12 Years a Slave” Auditions

This send-up of a casting call for “12 Years” is actually one of the funniest SNL skits in recent memory. From one actor’s artistic decision to call slaves “jerks” rather than what the script actually called for to another who is scared to perform in front of a Black cameraman, it captured the squeamishness this country has with a hideous institution.

3. “28 Reasons”
Lonely Island, it wasn’t. This sketch only succeeded if the aim of it was to get all the Black people in the cast onstage at once. The so-called punchline that  Black History is essentially blackmail was not a win for comedy kind.  Personally, we’d prefer reparations, thank you very much.

What do you think of recent SNL skits that talk about slavery?  Is it too much?  Should writer Leslie Jones apologize? Let us know in comments.