Saturday Night Live is often criticized these days for not living up to the standard it created for itself of being cleverly topic, culturally insightful, and above all else, funny. And rightfully so.
But last night, vintage SNL-at-its-best was on display when the cold opening took on the media’s coverage of the Jeremy Lin “Linsanity” story — you know, the one that has been sweeping the nation for what feels like a year but has still been less than a fortnight.
Of course, the racial component of the story cannot be and has not been ignored, though some certainly treat it more maturely and appropriately than others. The race component of “Linsanity” reached a worldwide nadir recently when ESPN used a most inappropriate headline and adjective while covering Lin.
Last night, SNL opened with the perfect parody of the media’s over the top and at times insensitive coverage of the Lin story.
Watch the video:
The inclusion of the Jackie Robinson video is brilliant, as is the related juxtaposition of the white dude including black stereotypes in the discussion and immediately being shot down by Kenan and Jay, the first time punctuated by Bill Hader saying “Hey, leave race out of this.”
As Jason Whitlock learned, while there is plenty of room for discussion race as it relates to Lin, it should be done with basic levels of tact and an absence of double standard. SNL’s spoof is a pitch-perfect exposition of this, highlighting the absurdity and immaturity of some of the coverage we’ve seen.
SNL’s blatant overuse of stereotypes may ruffle some feathers, but I’m willing to give comedians leeway in this are when the goal is parody that includes relevant social commentary. I thought they pulled it off brilliantly here, and let’s hope that the coverage of Linsanity moving forward can take a cue from SNL and stop being such an immature parody of itself.
If you can’t get enough Linsanity, Lin and the Knicks are taking on the Mavericks shortly on ABC.
Should be an interesting game. The Mavericks are the defending champs and still one of the league’s best teams, especially on defense, and Lin has been winning and putting up his numbers against a number of teams not nearly on the Mavs’ level. It will be interesting to see if Lin can limit the turnovers and continue to be a highly effective floor leader for the Knicks as the competition increases.