Home Funny News Is the suspect black or white? ‘SNL’ offers laugh-out-loud social commentary on race – USA TODAY

Is the suspect black or white? ‘SNL’ offers laugh-out-loud social commentary on race – USA TODAY

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Carly Mallenbaum


USA TODAY

Published 5:21 PM EDT Oct 6, 2019

Though the topics “President Trump” and “impeachment” loomed large during host Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s episode of “Saturday Night Live,” two of the funniest sketches were about something else entirely.

Their common theme: race relations. 

In “Mid-Day News,” Waller-Bridge and her other co-anchors (Kenan Thompson, Ego Nwodim, Alex Moffat and Chris Redd) learn that a suspected robber of a gas station is white. As a result, the black anchors high five and cheer on the air, celebrating the fact that they’re “just glad that he ain’t one of us.” The white anchors are aghast over “this petty game,” until they find out that a man assaulted someone for stepping on his Air Jordans. “That’s black, for sure,” says Moffat, who proceeds to dab.

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The WANU news reading of crime stories becomes an intraoffice battle of black vs. white, with perp descriptions that subvert expectations of race, and reactions (particularly from Nwodim) that are laugh-out-loud funny. The clip calls to mind Comedy Central’s 2017 special “The Fake News with Ted Nelms,” which included a similar bit about an attacker fitting “a certain profile.” 

In the sketch “Royal Romance,” the premise is race-focused, as well: Before Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan, there was another biracial royal couple. Who?

Duchess of Clerkenwell (Waller-Bridge) and Jimmy Jay Robinson (Thompson), aka the Rudy Ray Moore-esque blaxploitation street poet Thunderstick. Documentary footage includes Thunderstick “knighting” Sir Mix-a-Lot.

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