Culture

More Good News: SNL Tanking in the Ratings

(Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp were down for hours on Monday, and the good news didn’t stop there. According to Roger Friedman’s Showbiz411, the far-Left propaganda program masquerading as a comedy show, Saturday Night Live (SNL), is suffering a ratings nosedive. Could this spell the end of “comedians” thinking that all they have to do to be funny is mock Donald Trump and his followers, and repeat Leftist talking points? Not likely, but it’s nevertheless cause for celebration.

Friedman noted on Sunday: “Despite that strong return content wise last night, ‘SNL’ is still suffering viewer apathy.”

Full disclosure: I didn’t see Saturday night’s SNL. I haven’t watched SNL since the days of John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Bill Murray, and Garrett Morris. And there is a reason why I haven’t: I know that for years SNL and the late-night “comedians,” Stephen Colbert and all those guys named Jimmy and the rest of them, have assumed that ridiculing conservatives and dissent from the Leftist agenda was comedy and that they didn’t have to work any harder than that. And they haven’t. So I didn’t see Saturday night’s SNL, but I am as certain as I’ve ever been about anything that it was not really a “strong return content wise,” and could not have been, unless the entire guiding philosophy of American comedy in these latter days has been scrapped, which it has not.

According to Friedman, “last night’s Season 47 premiere had just 3.5 million viewers, which was the same for the last two episodes of Season 46 last May.” This is down from well over ten million viewers in the Belushi/Radner days, when the U.S. population was about 110 million people fewer than it is now. To be sure, there were also fewer television choices in those days, but no one in Hollywood seems to want to face the possibility that millions of people have turned off SNL over the years because they’re tired of being the butt of the joke.

Friedman appears to take for granted that what SNL offers is largely political “comedy”: “Of course” (of course?), he says, “last year at this time the election made ‘SNL’ hot, and there was huge demand for political comedy.…But the ratings last season dropped precipitously after the election was over. By January they’d leveled off to a regular ‘SNL’ rating of 4.1 million. But then, after Nick Jonas hosted on February 27th, around 500,000 fans left and never came back. Why? Who knows?”

Yeah, it’s a real mystery. 74 million people voted for Donald Trump in 2020, and SNL, along with virtually all other “comedians,” seems to think that no one in the entire country did and that it won’t hurt their ratings at all to continue to hold them up to ridicule and contempt. The irony of this is that the SNL cast, along with Colbert and the rest, no doubt think of themselves as “edgy” and as outsiders challenging a stodgy establishment, as if they were Mort Sahl and this were 1961. But it isn’t, and they aren’t. This is 2021, and they are the establishment. When Colbert did his cringeworthy vaccine dance the other night, he was providing free advertising for pharmaceutical giants that are raking in billions upon billions from the pandemic, and representing the position that the president of the United States and virtually all the other leaders in the West and elsewhere have adopted, amid an atmosphere of increasing authoritarianism.

Related: What’s Up with All the Anti-Semitism at NBC?

Colbert and SNL are at this point akin to the Two Minutes Hate that would come across the telescreen to the captive audience in Oceania every day in Orwell’s 1984. They hate Trump, they hate conservatives, they hate America as a free society, and they hector you that you must do so as well, or you won’t be as cool as they are, or as clever, or as free. In other words, they give you, in the form of a “comedic” sugar pill, the establishment line that the political and media elites want you to swallow. They are agents of that establishment, and its loyal foot soldiers.

Comedy, when it was real, was different. Comedians, in the days when there were any, were often not political at all. Many really were edgy, daring to mock cherished beliefs and symbols, but they were equal opportunity mockers, not the political hacks in clown shoes that we have today. If SNL really wants to understand why fewer and fewer people are tuning in, it should take a long look at what it’s trying to accomplish. Is it really even trying to be funny, or is its goal just to keep the masses safely on the Democratic reservation? And if it wants to continue to be regarded as a comedy show, its writers should ponder the question that Arthur Fleck’s mother asks him in 2019’s acclaimed Joker movie: “I mean, don’t you have to be funny to be a comedian?”