Aside from a few thinly veiled asides, “Saturday Night Live” has not addressed the controversy surrounding its hiring (and prompt firing) of Shane Gillis, a comic who used racist slurs in recent podcast conversations that he characterized — to much debate — as boundary-pushing comedy.
But this weekend, SNL proved it doesn’t have to directly confront the fracas that preceded its 45th season. Instead, the series led by example with a sketch that was legitimately boundary-pushing — and hilarious. Easily the episode’s strongest bit, “Mid-Day News” imagined the staffers of a daytime Florida newscast enthusiastically guessing whether the alleged criminals in their news reports were black or white. The antics began when an anchor played by Ego Nwodim reported that a gas station had been robbed earlier that morning.
“And we’re told the suspect remains at large, but authorities now believe they have a credible description of the perp,” said her co-anchor, host Phoebe Waller-Bridge. “The suspect, described as a white male …”
“Woo!” Kenan Thompson interrupted. “Love it!” Nwodim shouted. Waller-Bridge and another co-anchor, played by Alex Moffat, looked confused. “I’m sorry, what are you two celebrating?” she asked.