Tuesday 21 August 2018

Saturday Night Live's St Patrick's Day special isn't just offensive, it's plain unfunny

Kate McKinnon in a St Patrick's Day sketch on Saturday Night Live
Kate McKinnon in a St Patrick's Day sketch on Saturday Night Live
Beck Bennett and Bill Hader in a St Patrick's Day sketch on Saturday Night Live
Caitlin McBride

Caitlin McBride

Just when we'd forgiven Saturday Night Live for Aer Lingus-gate, they go an release their St Patrick's Day special.

SNL has one job: to make people laugh. That's it. There are no rules as to how you might do that and these days, most of us have lowered the bar so much that we'll take even the cheapest of giggles to enjoy a brief reprieve from life's daily stresses.

Beck Bennett and Bill Hader in a St Patrick's Day sketch on Saturday Night Live
Beck Bennett and Bill Hader in a St Patrick's Day sketch on Saturday Night Live

So you'll understand our frustration with a show like SNL that has all year to come up with an Irish focused sketch, only to come up with an uncomfortable segment about kissing cousins.

The set-up is a dating show called Kiss Me I'm Irish, hosted by Aidan Kilkenny (Beck Bennett) and bachelor contestant Niall (Bill Hader) with three female contestants vying for his affection. The big twist is that Cecily Strong and Kate McKinnon, wearing bad red wigs and speaking with even worse Irish accents, are his cousins and they're all still interested.

That's it.

If you were waiting for a small laugh at the end to vindicate your time, you'll be disappointed. Unlike the Aer Lingus sketch, which outraged so many, this didn't even have the redeeming quality of first-time host Saoirse Ronan, Ireland's proudest cinematic talent and an icon in the making.

As expected, last night's skit has prompted outrage from the usual suspects, those who would find fault in almost anything, but even the more moderate critics were left with a sour taste in their mouths today.

Not because it was offensive (it was), but largely because it just wasn't very funny.

SNL forgot one of the cardinal rules of entertainment - if you're going to be insulting, you better be so undeniably funny that all is immediately forgiven. I spent the entire segment wondering what footage is on the cutting room floor if this is the best material that made it on air.

According to most viewers on Twitter, they were just as confused, with one asking, "So Irish people like incest?"

We don't for the record.

It was as perplexing as it was unamusing and, I'm no television writer, but that seems like the exact opposite reaction you'd want from a segment starring the one-off comeback of one of the show's most iconic comedians, Bill Hader.

You literally had one job.

You can watch the sketch, here:

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