SNL Accused of “Hate Crime” and “Unfunny Paddywhackery” Against the Irish
Saturday Night Live is no stranger to controversy. And while SNL hasn’t exactly been funny to most for a long time, I suppose it still qualifies as comedy. Comedy is a craft that must learn to flirt with the edges of appropriateness, and they often cross the line. At the same time, it can be hard to determine where that line is in a society that is so full of political correctness and double standards.
This week, Saturday Night Live is making the Irish see red as fallout over a skit featuring Irish actress, Saoirse Ronan. Ronan is the star of the movie “Lady Bird,” for which she is expected to be nominated for an Academy Award. The skit was a bit kooky about Aer Lingus, an Irish airliner. After a vulgar joke about the name of the airline, the skit runs through a few stereotypes and for the most part falls pretty flat. But that didn’t stop the backlash.
Twitter exploded with accusations of racism and hate crimes. Even Aer Lingus itself tweeted out “Just tried watching Saturday Night Live – unwatchable! Totally biased, not funny and the Ronan impersonation just can’t get any worse. Sad.”
That tweet sounds a whole lot like another SNL hating tweet from Trump from last year. In fact, almost word for word. Not sure if that was to mock him or to honor him. Either way, I thought that was funny.
“Saturday Night Live has run into a bit of turbulence over a weekend skit that some viewers are calling “insulting.”
The NBC sketch comedy series made headlines Monday after the skit about Irish airline, Aer Lingus, went viral.
The comedy bit featured Irish actress Saoirse Ronan and SNL vet Cecily Strong as Aer Lingus flight attendants. It included several stereotypes about Irish people, such as a love of potatoes and dogs, and having thick accents.
The skit stirred up so much controversy in Ireland that The Irish Times published a lengthy article Monday panning it as “unfunny Paddywhackery” – we’re not exactly sure what that means, but it can’t be good.
The story went on to say “national treasure” Saoirse Ronan – who’s currently getting rave reviews for the film Lady Bird – “deserves better.”
The nearly four-minute skit featured Ronan and Strong dressed in green uniforms and speaking in heavy Irish accents, with Ronan sporting an unflattering bouffant bob hairstyle.
The jokes poked fun at the name Aer Lingus sounding like “cunnilingus.”
The skit also featured Kate McKinnon as a member of the ground crew, complete with a hideous orange wig, orange vest and orange batons. She boarded the flight to reveal takeoff had been delayed because of a dog on the tarmac.
“It has sad eyes and the soul of Oscar Wilde. So we’re going to have to wait,” she said.
Things went downhill from there as a third flight attendant, played by Aidy Bryant, read the limited menu options: “We’ve got fingerling potatoes, we’ve got purple potatoes and we’ve got salmon,” she announced before correcting herself. “I’m Sorry. I misread that. The salmon is also potatoes.”
As the skit went viral Monday, it generated more than 990,000 views on SNL‘s YouTube page. But many people in Ireland took to Twitter to bash it, with one person even likening it to a “hate crime.”
Still, others said the skit wasn’t that bad and told the critics to lighten up.”
Apparently poking fun at a love of dogs and potatoes is worthy of being deemed a hate crime now. People really need to lighten up.
Yes, stereotypes abounded in the skit but as noted by @LNKruger on Twitter, “Controversial opinion: the Saoirse Ronan/SNL Aer Lingus skit wasn’t that bad. Instead of painting us as drunk and violent (oh hi Liam Neeson NSL episode), they painted us as weird, dog-loving and badly organised. We need to choose another hill to die on, huns.” Sounds like a reasonable assessment to me.
Frankly, I didn’t find the skit particularly funny, but as someone who has quite a bit of Irish in my mutt blood, I certainly wasn’t offended in the slightest! The only thing that makes me mad about the whole thing is the double standard. Why does SNL think it is ok to poke fun at the Irish, but not other ethnic groups? Is it that some society must coddle certain groups more than others? Isn’t that racist as well?
The bottom line is I think as a society we need to either all lighten up and be equal opportunity jokesters, or find other subjects of comedy and leave everyone alone. One of those choices sure seems a whole lot more fun to me.