SNL not funny

SNL is the least funny show on TV and the disastrous sketches from this weekend prove it

Joking about Britney Spears’ ordeal and Hamas should be the final nail in the chuckle-free coffin

In the UK, you’ll often hear “Americans aren’t funny” volleyed around during any discussion of a funny film or TV show. Like any sweeping statement, it’s a bit broad and comedy is somewhat subjective. People argue about whether the UK version of The Office or the American one is funnier, but it comes down to what vibe you prefer. One is harsher, colder, more cynical – the other less so, and relies on a cast of characters who eventually endear themselves to you in the way most long running sitcom characters manage to do. You cannot tell a defender of The Office UK that they’re wrong and that The Office US is funnier, because both sides of the debate have valid reasons. But what you can tell someone who tries to say that SNL is funny, is that they’re completely and utterly talking nonsense. SNL is not funny, it’s never been funny – and this weekend’s bleak attempt at parodying Britney Spears and her ordeal she discusses in harrowing length in her acclaimed book The Woman in Me is the nail in the chuckle-free coffin.

SNL had its hey day when it starred the likes of Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph. These two? Funny. Icons. Bridesmaids? Love it. I don’t think they were particularly hilarious on SNL, but I did used to have a fair bit of a laugh at the sketch where Kristen Wiig plays that excited woman who loves surprise parties. But my god, this show is a slog. It needs a restructure. I just want pop stars coming on to sing a few bops, but instead we have to endure a bunch of unfunny actors trying too hard to make us laugh. They do this by creating sketches based on topical things from the news, but like the most insufferable millennials you know – they come to the joke about two weeks too late.

This weekend’s episode saw Timothée Chalamet and Boygenius (aka, Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker in their supergroup, critically acclaimed final form) parody Troye Sivan, which was – surprise, surprise – not funny. But worse still, SNL decided to parody Britney Spears and her new book The Woman in Me. The Woman in Me is Britney talking candidly about her extremely damaging conservatorship, her abortion that she didn’t want to have and the horrific experiences she went through with the press in the 2000s.

The sketch revolves around the SNL cast doing the worst impressions of celebrities reading excerpts from Britney’s book and it plays out like the worst edition of a RuPaul’s Drag Race Snatch Game you could ever imagine. Maggie Smith impressions… Okay? The sketch even contains a fake excerpt from the book that went viral, where someone pretended Britney made a comment about the size of Justin Timberlake’s penis. You could not make this up.

Britney Spears’ manager Cade Hudson called out the sketch on Instagram, saying ““Wow. The writers of SNL are getting worse and worse. No wonder you all reached out to me to get Britney on the show… SNL is on life support. You all are pathetic and this Chloe [Fineman] isn’t funny. Did you find her on Craigslist or something?””

This complete tone deaf nonsense aside, SNL has not been funny in years. They also made a joke about the Hamas-Israel conflict, with Hamas as the punchline. “SNL had a Ukrainian choir sing over a candlelight vigil where the candles spelled out Kyiv when the Ukraine was attacked, but when it’s Palestine being bombed, and thousands of Palestinians– men, women, and babies– being killed, they feel comfortable making that into punchline,” a Twitter / X user pointed out.

In the words of Cade Hudson, SNL is indeed on life support – and it’s about time we unplug it. Free us from this try hard terror that wants us to laugh so hard it results in a crowd of disinterested frowns.

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