With SNL's 39th season coming to a close, we're taking a look at the past season with a series of posts examining the highs, lows, and other memorable moments from the past eight months. Here, we look at the show's shifting tone on race over the arc of this season.
This has not been an easy year for SNL to talk about race. From the moment the show announced its six new cast members — the largest turnover in more than a decade — and viewers noticed that not one of them was a person of color, SNL once again became a target of progressive viewers calling for the cast to [...]
Seth MacFarlane's new sitcom, Dads, hasn't hit the airwaves yet, but it's already experiencing trouble. Guy Aoki, founding president of watchdog group MANAA, the Media Action Network for Asian Americans, wrote a public letter to Fox yesterday asking for scenes he deemed racist in the pilot for the live action Seth Green/Giovanni Ribisi sitcom to be reshot.
"Our community can't continue to be the target of racially insensitive jokes," writes Aoki. He also mentions the poor early reviews the pilot has received from critics, adding, "We are asking you to reshoot the inappropriate scenes of the pilot. Considering the consistent feedback from our community and television critics in general – and [...]
Ashton Kutcher is doing a new campaign for PopChips in which he portrays different characters in a bunch of "dating videos." One of them is "Raj," an indian man that you can see above. It's being called racist by a bunch of different people, most notably by tech pundit Anil Dash. Is it racist? He's wearing "brownface," which isn't the same as blackface, which is offensive and racist because of its history, not just because people are wearing makeup. And I don't like flinging accusations of racism or offensiveness at comedians unless it's really, truly warranted; comedians deserve the benefit of the doubt for the most part. [...]
It would be very easy to get caught up in the fuss about Work It being horrible and lose sight of what's really important: talking about Rob being horrible. But what is easy is not always right. Especially when what is easy is making stereotypical ethnic jokes at the expense of one-dimensional characters.
In fact, Rob’s handling of ethnicity and minority culture makes the stereotype-rich 2 Broke Girls appear culturally sensitive by comparison. Putting aside the multicamera format—a perennial CBS favorite—and the painful laugh track, Rob seems more like a parody of a sitcom than an actual comedy that’s been ordered to series, one that the studio and the [...]
"Key and Peele have done more for black America than anyone would be willing to give them credit for. They forced the people who see black people as less than to see them as equal. … They are destroying black stereotype character humor."
Fruit-smashin' comedian Gallagher is up to his racist antics again. Gallagher made his second podcast guest appearance that got heated after he said a lot of terrible racist stuff, following a spectacular episode of WTF with Marc Maron in 2011 in which Gallagher walked off mid-interview after Maron called him out on being awful. On the latest episode of Probably Science, which was taped in front of a live audience with guest Peter Serafinowicz and hosts Matt Kirshen and Andy Wood, Gallagher went off the rails.
You can listen to the episode, which host Matt Kirshen now calls his "personal Vietnam," here (the racism starts in [...]
Last night on the Daily Show, Al Madrigal travelled to Tucson, AZ, where the local high schools have just been banned from teaching Mexican-American Studies by the state. He sat down with the head of the school board who spearheaded the ban, and it's the quintessential Daily Show interview: a master class in setting someone up and then getting out of their way while they obliviously tear apart their own argument. By the time he has the guy trying to teach a black kid about slavery without him becoming resentful towards white people, it's a total trainwreck in the best possible sense.
One of the most-repeated criticisms of NBC’s freshman comedy Outsourced is that it features a narrow-minded portrayal of Indian culture. Nearly every episode features Todd Dempsy, the likable, naïve American who runs a call center located in Mumbai, complaining about how bad the food smells, how outlandish the traditions and holidays seem, or how Puritan the women act when it comes to matters of sexuality and courtship. And despite the reports that Indian test audiences weren’t offended by the show’s cultural humor, for some reason many of the jokes feel like watered down versions of it’s-not-a-stereotype-if-it’s-true observations typical of Mind of Mencia or Birth of a Nation.
Jerry Seinfeld’s old costar Michael Richards was his guest on the season finale of his web series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” this week. The video’s a whopping 17 minutes long, but Richards ends up addressing his horrifying racist outburst at the Comedy Store from six years ago right around the 14-minute mark. Richards seems to genuinely feel disturbed and guilty over what happened (he hasn’t performed comedy since), but when he reflects on what he learned from the incident, it oddly has nothing to do with racism:
“I think I worked selfishly, and not selflessly… It's not about me, it's about them (the audience). That's the lesson [...]
So apparently at a recent Television Critics Association panel, critics asked 2 Broke Girls showrunner Michael Patrick King about the show's offensively one-dimensional supporting characters and he – slowly, gradually – flipped the fuck out. Keep in mind, even CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler says this show needs to "dimensionalize" its supporting characters. But it looks like King really didn't want to face that criticism, instead turning defensive.
Things took a particularly uncomfortable turn when the reporter who had initially asked about Tassler's comments again tried to get King to clarify his remarks, reading the exact quote from the transcript of Tassler's executive session.
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