Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Watch the Media-Conspiracy TV Funhouse Segment SNL Banned in 1998

Marc Maron just Tweeted the link to this video, a Robert Smigel-written TV Funhouse segment in which the educational program Conspiracy Theory Rock presents a catchy little ditty called "Media-opoly." The animation depicts the total control of the media by a few unregulated corporations – especially, yep, good old GE – who are also dumping nuclear waste directly onto playground woodchips. Big surprise, this clip was cut out from all but the first airing of its SNL episode. It's interesting to think about how far we've come in the last decade and a half, though, with 30 Rock casting GE's fictional parent company Sheinhardt Wigs as a monster-corp turning children orange. Could SNL do something like this today and get away with it?

Other Fun SNL Posts:
Driving SNL writer Chris Kelly around NYC against his will
The complete history of Celebrity Jeopardy
SNL midseason update

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  • http://slaneofthought.tumblr.com Kevin Slane

    Wow, I remember watching this clip back when it originally aired. Really glad Maron brought it back.

    I'm still not sure this sketch would be embraced the way 30 Rock is today, however. Though the comparison is apt, I feel they soften their satire by not dwelling on the corporatism jokes for too long. Rather than spending two minutes saying "All these corporations run your whole life and take all your money and are possibly giving you cancer," they make a joke about Jack being in charge of microwave oven design and rapidly move on to something else, like a Liz Lemon loneliness flashback.

    Yes, NBC has progressed in that they allow an entire show parody their network, but while the satire is funny, it relies on absurdity rather than harsh, unvarnished truths. Smigel's satire is incredibly dark and unflinching, which would still raise red flags on any major network today.

  • YakkaSpoodle

    Apparently Lorne Michaels defended cutting the cartoon by saying that it wasn't funny, which it really isn't. But you've got to admire the balls on Smigel – it's hard to believe that he co-writes Adam Sandler movies.

  • V.I.L

    starting 01:25 notice the incredible similarity between the cartoon congressman and Newt Gingrich…

    • Agent M

      @V.I.L …you mean because he was Speaker of the House at the time? that IS brilliant AND incredible!