For a show that is supposed to be the hallmark of liberal comedy in U.S.A, Saturday Night Live (SNL) seems to have historically been only a few steps ahead of the rest of Hollywood when it came to queer sensibility. It has attempted to have characters embrace multiple gender and sexual identities since its premiere in 1975, but while some sketches have been on point, others like “It’s Pat” have not.
Today, with writers Mike Yang, Anderson, Gates, and Torres bringing perspectives from inside the LGBT community, and openly gay cast members like Kate McKinnon and John Milhiser, SNL sketches have definitely become more likely to be ‘hits’ rather than ‘misses’. The inclusion of queer writers and cast members has also added the possibility of meta humour to the show, which has only made it funnier.
Considering that the quarantine has made us all lose track of time and what day it is, there has never been a better moment in history to pretend everyday is Saturday and binge-watch some of these ‘hits’ while calmly telling our mass anxiety that the apocalypse is not upon us. If you, like most of us, have been searching for something to make you laugh during this uncertain time, look no further than this list.
Totinos with Kristen Stewart: The original ‘Totinos’ skit by SNL was a spoof sketch that posed the question ‘What do women in snack commercials do inside the kitchen till the manly game gets over?” Hilarious by itself, this concept got a MAJOR upgrade when Kristen Stewart hosted. Halfway through the sketch, Kristen enters the commercial lady’s home, and SNL gives us a more passionate Lesbian first meeting than most serious films. You become quite invested in their love story as they start speaking French, drawing each other Titanic style, and showering together- all while the men are still watching their game.
Wells for boys: Written by Torres, this sketch stands out for three major reasons. The first is the mom played by Emma Stone. You will kind of end up wishing she could be YOUR parent and put her arm around you protectively because she knows you are different and loves you immensely. The second thing is how absolutely specific the description of the young boy is while being so relatable for anyone that grew up with a ‘creative soul’- especially the part where Strong’s V.O. says “Don’t just get him a Barbie. I mean, it is like that, but that’s just PART of it.” The third thing is the fact that this entire range of toys is blue because the SNL writers are subtly telling you ‘he’s still a boy, and Fisher Price is still a mass manufacturing toy company in a capitalist world.”
Themyscira:While 2016 saw D.C. acknowledging that Wonder Woman (WW) is bisexual, any signs of romantic or sexual relationships between the inhabitants of Theymyscira have been completely invisible in the actual movies, with WW constantly referring to her fellow citizens as ‘sisters’. Aidy and Kate basically fill in the position of every LGBT person watching D.C. movies and going “Really? NONE of these women are Queer?!” The sketch also tackles the issue of Queer-baiting that arises from such a portrayal, where the women are always ALMOST on the urge of making out, but never do. Though Gal Gadot herself begins by very clearly reading from the teleprompter, she soon shifts to a passionate commitment to performance once she starts making out with Kate.
FIre Island: While the original ‘Fire Island’ for gay contestants is full of sexual moments and overt make out sessions, the imagined ‘Cherry Grove’ actually doesn’t give a single damn about the male gaze. Women in the LGBT community have long had to deal with the fetishization done by cishet men, and this sketch is quick to reclaim that place. It focuses on the actual drama in lesbian interactions, and the imagined drama that straight people would imagine. What takes this sketch to the next level are the cuts between the original show and SNL’s make-believe reality drama. While laughing out loud is inevitable, you may also find yourself kind of wishing that this was an actual reality show.
The Actress: The storyline follows actress Emma Stone’s character who is the non-essential person in porn film, and is trying to look for inspiration for her one-line dialogue. Here is the amazing thing about this sketch- the porn production that has been featured in it did not have to be gay for the humor to work, and yet SNL chose to make it so. Written by Torres and Yang, it featured Ty Mitchell who is an actual gay porn star. The sketch was written to clearly convey the message that queer identities and representation need to exist not only when they take the plot forward, but even otherwise, just like in real life.
ALSO WORTH WATCHING
Homocil: The message of this sketch can be summed up in the tagline for the fake bottle of medication for parents of LGBT kids, which tells parents who have a hard time coming to terms with their child’s sexuality “Because it’s your problem, not theirs.”
Dyke and Fats: This Aidy Bryant and Kate McKinnon sketch deals with how whenever shows have a queer or plus-sized character that becomes their defining trait.
Kate McKinnon as Ellen: Sketches of Kate playing lesbian talk show host Ellen have been such a fan favourite, that the LGBT icon herself has invited Kate in character to the show.
Whiskers R We:This hilarious and adorable sketch features a fake show hosted by two old women that love cats, and also very obviously, each other.