News & Politics

'Saturday Night Live's' Blatant Hypocrisy on Blackface

Those who still watch Saturday Night Live were treated to a skit addressing the Democrat blackface scandals that are currently throwing Virginia into a state of chaos.

Kenan Thompson, one of the sketch comedy show’s four black cast members, portrayed the chairman of the state ethics committee in a room full of white cast members playing state officials.

“As chair of the ethics committee I have to ask, has anybody else worn blackface in college?” an exasperated Thompson asks.

The state officials then went through various examples of wearing blackface, expressing uncertainty over whether each scenario would be inappropriate.

“What if the blackface was just part of your costume of a black person?” one official asked.

“Does it count if you did it all the way back in the 80s?” another official asked.

“Of course not,” one official chimed in. “It was funny and cool in the 80s.”

“I’m going to stop you right there, Phil,” Thompson piped in. “It does still count, and it was never funny or cool.”

You can watch the skit here:

The most interesting part of the skit was the line asserting that “it was never funny or cool.” Really? Saturday Night Live doth protest too much, methinks. Because for years SNL has apparently considered blackface funny enough that they’ve had white actors don blackface for a sketch.

Back in 1984, Billy Crystal wore blackface on Saturday Night Live. Here’s a skit featuring Crystal portraying Sammy Davis Jr.:

Apparently, blackface was funny to SNL… even back in the 1980s.

Fred Armisen and Saturday Night Live got into quite a bit of hot water for having Armisen portray Barack Obama in 2008. Both were also criticized for having the actor portray the late singer Prince during their tribute to him.

Armisen has actually portrayed a number of African Americans on the show. Apparently, it was funny and cool?

And of course, there’s the infamous Jimmy Fallon impersonation of Chris Rock, which aired on  SNL back in 2000:

But, this next one is a real hoot. Another white actor, Darrell Hammond, repeatedly portrayed Jesse Jackson on Saturday Night Live, and you can see several clips of these portrayals on NBC’s website. Here’s one such example:

Here’s what I love about this one: You’ll note that Hammond is wearing blackface while sitting next to Kenan Thompson, who, just last night, said on SNL that wearing blackface “was never funny or cool.” Thompson didn’t have a problem actually sitting next to Hammond donning blackface for the sketch. It must have been funny and cool at the time.

Saturday Night Live has a pretty long record of having white actors wearing blackface for the sake of comedy… or at least what counts as “comedy” for those who still find SNL to be funny anymore. But, that’s never stopped them from claiming the moral high ground on the issue. That’s right, last night’s sketch was not the first time SNL chimed in on the issue of blackface. When Megyn Kelly was fired from NBC (SNL’s network) for her comments about blackface, they made fun of her:

Saturday Night Live is a left-wing show, with left-wing actors, producers, and writers. For years, they’ve never seen a problem with having white actors wear blackface for a joke. Their sketch last night doesn’t change that, or excuse actions that they now say were “never funny or cool.”

I suppose Kenan Thompson should have said blackface “is never funny or cool — unless Saturday Night Live does it.”


Matt Margolis is the author of The Scandalous Presidency of Barack Obama and the bestselling The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. His new book, Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy, will be published in 2019. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis