Saturday Night Live did not shy away from Donald Trump's inflammatory remarks about Haiti and impoverished African nations, as Weekend Update Colin Jost repeated Trump's description of the countries as "shitholes" live on air.
Trump's comments, which were reportedly uttered during a bipartisan meeting on immigration reform earlier this week, were immediately decried as both vulgar and flagrantly racist. The fact that the White House hasn't officially denied or apologized for the comments - though Trump did deny them on Twitter - has only added fuel to the fire. Apart from the deeply troubling, ever building evidence that the President of the United States is racist, there's been a curious side issue, where cable news grappled with whether or not they should accurately quote Trump, as "shithole" is obviously not a word normally heard on daytime news broadcasts. Most networks did allow anchors and guests to say the word, resulting in a truly bizarre day of television.
Saturday Night Live has a long, storied history of crossing the line of acceptable profanity on network television, and Colin Jost decided to keep that tradition alive. During the opening segment of Weekend Update, Jost stated that NBC requested that they say "s-hole" instead of the actual curse word... before saying the actual word anyway, and then feigning embarrassment. Check out the moment below via Twitter user Timothy Burke.
Much like the cable news oddness, this is an unusual moment in SNL history. There have been plenty of moments where profanity has been uttered by accident with little consequence, or on purpose by rogue cast members or hosts with considerable consequences. This instance seemed both planned and will likely have no negative ramifications for Jost or the show, as he is literally quoting the President of the United States.
Jost and his co-anchor Michael Che - whose version of Weekend Update was the weak link of SNL not so long ago - have been invigorated by the Trump administration, routinely serving as some of his most pointed critics in the world of comedy. The pair even hosted a Weekend Update spinoff series this summer so the show could stay connected to the daily calamity happening in American politics. Alongside hosts like Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers, Jost and Che have become an integral part of the late night pushback against Trump. It's notable that Jost was the one to utter the naughty word, as it's usually Che that takes on the more controversial, racially charged material. And yet it seems strangely appropriate that the straight laced Jost would be the one to utter "shithole" the same week news anchors like Anderson Cooper and Rachel Maddow had to say it with notable disgust. We're living in a very strange time, and SNL is more than happy to engage with that strangeness in profane and hilarious ways.
Source: Timothy Burke