October 12, 2011

Columbus Day in Saturday Night Live

Last Saturday's episode of Saturday Night Live (airdate: 10/8/11) had a few mentions of Christopher Columbus and Indians. Surprisingly, they weren't bad.

  • In a Fox & Friends skit, the faux news show had to post a long series of corrections. Among them were:
  • Christopher Columbus sailed to what is now the modern day United States in an effort to find a trade route to the West Indies. Not to flee the dragons.

    The Washington Monument was not named after Denzel Washington. Nor was it named after the Washington Redskins.

    Pocahontas was not named after a stripper.
    Small correction to the correction: Columbus wanted to reach China, not the West Indies.

    Even getting three mentions for Indian-related topics is unusual. That they mocked the ignorance of non-Indians, rather than mocking Indians, was nice.

  • In a Hugh Jackman skit, Andy Samberg as Jackman said he had to inject botox every afternoon or he'd look like a "flabby Aborigine."

  • "Columbus Day AssBlast"

  • In a skit about Under-Underground Records, the DJs described a music festival called the Columbus Day AssBlast. It included the following bits:

  • The announcer said, "These bands will give Queen Isabella polyps!"

    DJ SuperSoak said, "The Columbus Day AssBlast is also about giving back. Here to tell you more is MC George Costanza."

    In a tricorn cap and wire-rimmed glasses, MC George Costanza (Jay Pharaoh) looked like a cross between Columbus and Ben Franklin. He also had one tooth blacked out. He said, "Yo, we got a new charity for y'all. It's called 'Dirt for Native Americans.'

    "When we came to America, Columbus stole all the Native Americans' land. Now we're giving them a bunch of it back. So bring us your loose dirt, divots, and full-out mud clumps, and we'll give you a front wedgie."

    Later in the same skit, Lil Blaster said fans could cheat on girlfriends with "three Hispanic prostitutes": Nina, Pinta, and Scuzzy Beth.


    None of this is especially good humor about Indians. But it had an overriding feel to it. It was criticizing and mocking Columbus Day--a holiday Americans used to take seriously. Now it's an opportunity to hint that Indians still exist and they're not happy with Columbus.

    In the past, SNL hasn't done well by Indians. I wonder if someone pointed that out--perhaps a Newspaper Rock reader? Or if they got some new writers. In any case, the new approach is better.

    For more on Saturday Night Live, see Taboo in Saturday Night Live and Ute Drummer on Saturday Night Live.

    1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    Spice Islands also, for Columbus.

    But the joke is hilarious.