Did SNL cross the line?


The link above is the SNL skit we saw in class about a fake new movie based on Quentin Taratino’s Django Unchained that painted Jesus in a more violent light, to put it lightly. I felt this would be good to write about for two reasons: 1.) I am catholic and I see Jesus as the peaceful savior who would never touch a gun. 2.) I had no ill reaction when I originally saw the skit live on Saturday night, but now seeing it a few more times I’m beginning to think it crossed the line.

I think for this situation you have to look at context. First, I don’t really blame SNL. They are a comedic show that takes serious things and makes them funny. I don’t think the political candidates are thrilled about jokes about their sex lives (Herman Cain), or their funny way of talking(George Bush) or even their religious beliefs(Mitt Romney: Mormon), but nobody gets upset because of the context. If you are going to watch the show, you understand the things they joke about aren’t necessarily true, they are hyperbolized to be funny. But I think their is a limit. I did watch that episode of SNL, and earlier in the show they made some jokes about the pope’s resignation. This is obviously a sensitive subject for Catholics, but with it being just said via standup comedy, people can laugh at it. I think where SNL crossed the line is not joking about Jesus, and him becoming more violent, but it is the harmful visuals. The picture below, part of the video, is a little unsettling.


A joke is one thing, but seeing a visual of Jesus shooting one of his former apostles, and the blood spraying on the screen is a bit too much. That takes it from a funny joke you can move past to a visual that is engrained in memory. I don’t want that visual in my head. 

Once again you have to look at context. Yes, I think any joke is fair game on SNL. They’ve joked about the holocaust, racism, religion, you name it, it has been on SNL. And all of those moments were funny. But when joking about the holocaust they don’t put up bloody pictures of dead Jews do they? I think what SNL failed to realize here is though they have freedom to put a comedic spin on almost anything, you still have to do it in a respectful manor. After watching this movie spoof a few times, I don’t think they were respectful enough. In the end, I’m not overly outraged, but I think it is good somebody brought attention to the fact that changing the delivery of the joke can in fact take a perfectly ok joke and make it offensive.


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