Curb Your Enthusiasm star Larry David has come under fire for doing a Holocaust joke during his SNL monologue Saturday night. David's monologue also featured a joke about Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood producer at the center of the recent storm of sexual misconduct allegations rocking the entertainment industry.
Comedians often use the SNL monologue as an opportunity to push the envelope of good taste, and occasionally get burned for it. In 2015, the ever-edgy Louis C.K. received criticism for a monologue bit that took on the always-touchy subject of child molestation. In perhaps the most notorious case of a monologue gone off-the-rails, Martin Lawrence in 1994 went on an inexplicable tirade about feminine hygiene, a decision that would haunt the comedian for years to come. In a rare case of someone being ripped for going too positive, Dave Chappelle drew fire in 2016 when he suggested that newly-elected president Donald Trump should be given more of a chance from his critics, a position Chappelle would later do a complete 180 on (he would also later win an Emmy for his hosting gig).
Larry David's own questionable monologue, filled with jokes that might have seemed funnier back in the '80s when the comedian was trying to make it as a stand-up (a career he would eventually abandon), may have already felt like a slow-motion trainwreck before arriving at the Holocaust bit. The joke's premise, about a man trying to get a date with a woman in a concentration camp, was problematic to start with and David arguably didn't do himself any favors with the way he played out the routine. Twitter wasted no time in jumping on David's back for his ill-conceived attempt at mining one of history's greatest tragedies for SNL laughs. View the monologue above, and sample some of the backlash below:
In addition to the Holocaust humor, David's routine also featured material about the Hunchback of Notre Dame, in which David perhaps ill-advisedly attempted an impersonation of the deformed literary and film character. David also tackled Harvey Weinstein (a subject SNL had deliberately shied away from previously), noting along the way that Weinstein and many of the other major Hollywood figures being accused of sexual misconduct are Jewish (David is himself Jewish).
Last night's SNL is receiving low marks overall from Sunday morning critics. Most were not impressed by David's performance, even though he brought out his normally well-received Bernie Sanders impression. Even Alec Baldwin showing up as Donald Trump in a skit that also included Kate McKinnon as a "half-possum" Jeff Sessions complete with prehensile tail was not enough to rescue the episode in the eyes of critics. Perhaps things will pick up next week when Girls Trip star Tiffany Haddish hosts, with Taylor Swift as musical guest.
David likely won't be winning any Emmys for hosting SNL last night, but the comedian is still going strong on HBO with season 9 of his legendary comedy series Curb Your Enthusiasm, a venue where his sometimes aggressively non-PC humor manages to land with a lot more accuracy than on SNL.
Sources: NBC, Twitter