Guys, it’s going to be a very long four years at this rate.
News broke yesterday that Katie Rich, writer for Saturday Night Live had been “suspended indefinitely” for this tweet, which she made on Friday:
A knee-jerk response to this tweet might be “that joke is at the expense of a 10-year-old” and to condemn it on these grounds, but let’s go a bit further into the construction of this joke, shall we?
Donald Trump famously said in his campaign that he could “shoot somebody and not lose voters.”
He has made many other violent claims and supported violent means to wield political control as part of his platform.
Currently, the GOP supports (vociferously) the right for guns in schools.
He reportedly once visited Donald Jr at school, and when Donald Jr. wasn’t in a suit, Donald senior cold cocked him and demanded he change into a suit.
Ivana was deposed at the time of her divorce claiming she had suffered brutal sexual assaults at the hands of Donald.
Then, there’s the matter of him constantly talking about how fuckable he thinks his own daughter is.
Donald Trump is a disgusting creep and by all known measures, a bad father. Ivana famously said she raised her kids “singlehandedly until he could talk business with his kids, then he became interested.
This joke is a commentary on Barron Trump having such shitty parents and such violence around him in the home that he would rise up against his shitty dad.
Barron is the sympathetic figure in the joke.
Now that we’ve dispensed with the contents of the joke, let’s take a look at SNL’s extremely gross history when it comes to abusers.
Alec Baldwin has just been announced as prepping for his record breaking 17th hosting gig, largely due to his Donald Trump impression.
Alec Baldwin also wrote a book on Men’s Rights because he couldn’t get everything he wanted in his contentious divorce. Alec Baldwin also famously verbally abused his daughter on voicemail. That episode happened in 2007. He has been asked to be host twice since that event and been asked to guest dozens of times.
Where was the outcry over an actual child abuser participating in the show?
It’s also important to point out SNL’s sexism when it comes to these types of things. Recently, an anti-trans joke was made on Weekend Update and no one really cared. That joke actually made it on the show, meaning it made it past 2 table reads, a rehearsal and a taping and wasn’t cut for broadcast.
Katie made her joke on her own Twitter account. Katie has just over 15k followers. The original tweet has a few hundred likes and retweets. It’s hardly got the power of Weekend Update.
Most of the people screaming bloody murder about Katie’s joke didn’t even follow her. Most of the people objecting are using gendered slurs against her.
This is no coincidence.
The public tolerance level for women who make “offside” jokes is infinitesimal. Jenny Slate MISTAKENLY said “fuckin'” on SNL and it was blown into a national emergency. (If your kid has never heard the f-word but you allow them to stay up until 1 am, maybe you should reconsider writing that letter to Lorne Michaels.)
Then there’s the unfortunate fact that Mike Myers and Dana Carvey made fun of Chelsea Clinton’s looks when she was 10 years old. Mike Myers went on to become a billionaire and Lorne could not have been more pleased with the receipts for Wayne’s World the movie.
That Chelsea Clinton joke was made on the show in the first half hour (the most prized slot) and resulted in precisely zero firings.
Katie Rich should not have been suspended. To take a stance like this on a satire writer writing satire on her own account, and on her own time is a sign of what’s to come for the state of comedy in a world where the President is also a reality TV star with deep ties to some of the very people who should be fighting to make fun of him.
Katie Rich was the victim of Lorne Michaels’ (and society’s) bias against women making cutting remarks.
There’s a broader set of questions we need to be addressing here: How much influence should a President have on jokes made at his expense (none.) How much should artists have to self censor now that a press-hating President is in office (none.) Should we treat female comics with the same at-arm’s-length approach society gives to male comedians? (yes.)
That’s the important stuff to focus on. The implications of shutting down dissent are bone chilling.
Free Katie Rich.
Hear more about this story by its author, Karen Geier on the Jim Richards Showgram