Dan Harmon on Katie Rich’s ‘SNL’ Firing: “You Have to Fucking Protect People If You’re Working in Comedy in These Times”

danharmonBack in January, Saturday Night Live “suspended” writer Katie Rich for tweeting a joke about Donald Trump’s son Barron. The tweet in question — “Barron will be this country’s first homeschool shooter” — was later deleted by Rich, who followed up with a public apology calling the tweet “insensitive,” “offensive,” and “inexcusable.” Unfortunately for Rich, the apology wasn’t enough, and even though she was on the SNL writing staff for three years, the Barron tweet — and the outrage of formerly PC outrage culture-hating Trump supporters online who demanded her firing — got her indefinitely suspended from the show. Thankfully, many comedians came to Rich’s support online including Dan Harmon, who even offered her a job because, in his words, “I would tolerate all jokes. I do tolerate all jokes. And so do you. Because we have not lost our motherfucking god damn minds.”

Harmon expanded on his thoughts during Scott Rogowsky’s live show Running Late last month, delving deeper into the reasons why Rich’s firing — and particularly the show’s silence on the decision — was a bad choice by SNL and why he thinks it’s more effective to troll Trump supporters than engage in pointless arguments with them:

I have been a horrible person who has said all the wrong things for 44 years. A lot of it has been during times when we’ve been trying to clean up our act socially, so I have been the guy that has offended people a lot. I have been the guy who has been told by liberals “That’s over the line. You don’t do that. There’s repercussions” and all that stuff. There’s a difference in that — it was different, contextually. And the truth is — I’m a little drunk so I’m just gonna say it — I can’t think of a more devastating fucking time to choose silence than Lorne Michaels chose in that moment. If you were playing a video game where the gimmick of the video game was your finger was taped to the button and you had to pick the one time in 70 years when you removed it — how much damage you could do! That’s the moment. Because that’s the moment when you’re supposed to say, “Comedy is non-partisan, comedy doesn’t give a fuck who’s president. This is Saturday Night Live. We’re an institution. We care if people are laughing. She apologized. I protect her. I don’t give a fuck who’s president. I don’t care. You’ll be made fun of if it’s making people laugh.”

You have to fucking protect people if you’re working in comedy in these times. You were asking “How can you be funny? What are you supposed to do? Are we supposed to shut up?” No, this is fucking historical! There’s a line between the left and the right right now, and then there’s this other line that cuts across both the left and the right between your friends that don’t think we’re living in history right now and your friends that understand we are. We need to get as many people up over that overreactive hyperbolic line. We need to be fucking melodramatic right now. We need to be trolling these people. You need to stop arguing with people who try to claim false equivalence in their arguments with you. Stop arguing with them — they don’t mean it. Keep trolling. Keep marching. Keep protesting. It’s driving them nuts.

Watch the clip below:

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