The fact that SNL somehow still finds a way to remain relevant convinces me that the American public hates comedy and wants to see it crushed beneath the iron heel of predictability, laziness, and immaturity. The show is almost always utterly unfunny, and yet somehow remains on the air after almost forty years of Nickleback-level mediocrity and scrotum-scraping tediousness in almost every sketch the show has ever aired. It is rare to see a skit that is actually funny (a few of the Celebrity Jeopardy skits managed some genuine laughs). Most of the time the best “comedy” that the show can come up with is a sketch that’s funny in concept, but lazy and predictable in execution.
The recent Tarantino spoof called “DJesus Uncrossed” is an example of this. Is a movie about a vengeance-crazed DJesus storming through DJerusalem viciously killing Romans and avenging the plight of the DJews a funny idea? Fuck yeah, it is. I would like to see it done well. Alas, this is SNL, so ’twas not to be. Instead, we just get Jesus killing people. Obviously a Jesus parody based on Django Unchained will involved Jesus murdering Romans. That’s supposed to be the starting point of the DJoke. It’s the premise of the DJoke, not the DJoke itself. You’re then supposed to build on that, adding new humorous layers and observations. Maybe have DJesus walk across the water to kick off the heads of swimming Romans like footballs off a tee. Maybe have a weird thing about the holes in his feet to parody Tarantino’s creepy foot fetish (we all know he’d love to fuck a foot-hole). Or point out that, unlike Inglourious Basterds or Django Unchained, there’s no evidence to show that it didn’t actually happen this way. (At least, no less evidence than what the Gospel accounts have.)
There might have been ways to make these things funny, and that’s what they should do. But that requires the writers to make an attempt to do their jobs. Instead we just get 2 minutes of DJesus killing Romans in re-creations of scenes from various Tarantino movies, as if the mere sight of it will be funny every single time. It’s not. The humor wears off almost immediately, and there isn’t an attempt to build on the premise until the very end, when a fictional critic describes it as a less violent version of the Passion of the Christ, followed by a swipe at the fact that Tarantino likes to include the word “nigger” in his scripts a lot. Too little, too late.
“SNL skit sucks” isn’t news. It’s in the same category as the Pope’s Catholicism and bears’ woods-shitting. But at least I can get some enjoyment out of this crappy skit, because (quite predictably) the god-humpers are freaking out about it. All it takes is a couple jokes about their imaginary friend, and their heads go *POP* as tears come gushing out over the sad plight of the adherents of the most dominant religion in the Western Hemisphere. Yes, Christians, let me taste those sweet and salty tears!
The following comments were also posted on “SNL’s” website:
–”Seriously SNL? I am one of your biggest fans, but you really crossed the line with this. I am thoroughly disgusted…”
–”Interesting how SNL continues to mock Christ. As a Christian, I was highly offended. No doubt you would not dare to attack other faiths; Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, You can do better.”
–”This is just wrong. Once again, Christians are slammed. I find it ighly unfunny making fun of something that so many hold dear…”
It’s funny how people on the right wing love to talk tough every chance they get, but when something hurts their precious religious beliefs they turn into the biggest pussies on planet earth.
My favorite response so far comes from some dingleberry named Frank Kaufmann, who seems to be yet another religionist who thinks that unthinking, reactionary, gut-based babblings can be made respectable by adding a thin veneer of superficial erudition.
The LA Times explains, “DJesus Uncrossed” may have crossed the line, with some calling it the single most offensive skit in “Saturday Night Live” history.” [sic]
These include the giddy cheers of the SNL live audience following the piece, the comments under the YouTube video of the sketch, the patent and far reaching double standard about whom it is fine to offend in American culture, the worrisome depths and numbness to which popular entertainment culture has declined, the pathological schizophrenia the [sic] obtains among left wing entertainment elite on the matter of violence, and the timing of the piece (namely the start of Lent).
- the giddy cheers of the SNL live audience following the piece, [Dude. They’re told to cheer. There are frickin’ signs in the studio that say “Applause” and “Laughter” on them for this purpose. Obeying them is part of the agreement for being in the audience. Your complaint is like yelling in response to the laugh track on Full House, “Hey! That wasn’t funny! Stop laughing!”]
- the comments under the YouTube video of the sketch, [Fucking YouTube comments? Haven’t you figured out how the internet works yet? ALWAYS IGNORE YOUTUBE COMMENTS!]
- the patent and far reaching double standard about whom it is fine to offend in American culture, [It’s fine to offend anyone as far as I’m concerned. One of the reasons I feel that way is that “offensive” only sounds like a legitimate objection to someone who is him/herself offended. Case in point, Christians who cry persecution whenever someone makes fun of Jesus but don’t give a shit when gays complain about a gay joke.]
- the worrisome depths and numbness to which popular entertainment culture has declined, [Getting even more pearl-clutchy and offended by every little thing would only accelerate that decline.]
- the pathological schizophrenia the obtains among left wing entertainment elite on the matter of violence, [“Pathological schizophrenia”! Gotta sound smart when attacking the “elite” straw man that every dumb Christian blubbers about whenever the TV appears to be smarter than he/she is.]
- and the timing of the piece (namely the start of Lent). [We demand that shitty comedies on networks hardly anyone watches any more schedule according to our silly holiday rituals! But just ours. No need to pay attention to Ramadan or any bullshit like that. We might get offended if you avoid offending Muslims.]
The core of my disappointment lays [sic] not in moralist or liturgical obsessions involving legitimate charges of blasphemy (in my view a proper injunction) but in more widely applicable negatives namely that material like this is ignorant and childish. [sic] Like a 1 year old smearing poo everywhere thinking herself an avant-garde rebel against constraining norms. [sic]
The difference between SNL’s skit and the little one smearing stink is that the child is not heavily funded, and does not participate in a network of self important figures in the multi-billion dollar entertainment industrial complex, spending your money and drinking your wine. The 1 year old thankfully is limited to her own rear-end, her own walls, her own face and hair, and she doesn’t have a thousand people excitedly cooing, under [sic] a YouTube video imagining themselves champions of courageous and daring horizons of self expression.
The putrid outcome of the little one in her diapers further resembles the Djesus skit in that neither is funny.
SNL has long been lazy in creating elaborate enactments of profoundly average ideas. This skit had a single funny line, calling the SNL grotesquery less violent than Mel Gibson’s cartoonish and bloody depiction of Jesus.
The delighted squeals and cheers from the SNL live audience can probably be forgiven. Anyone who’s ever been a part of a live TV audience knows the demeaning experience of being manipulated by second rate comics or MCs telling you when to laugh and when to applaud. It is embarrassing. Some years back I went to see Tracy Chapman on the Letterman Show. Loved her, hated being told what to do all night long by cue card holding clowns.
The freedom to offend Christians in a politically correct America is a disgrace.
Calling an athlete athletic has cost commentators their jobs and careers.
Defiling the sacred and offending sincere religious believers is fine.
A US army handbook in preparation reported by WSJ warns “that soldiers should avoid “making derogatory comments about the Taliban,” [and] “any criticism of pedophilia.” [sic] So we must be careful not to criticize pedophilia, but it is fine to portray the beloved object of worship and love for millions of Americans as a violent, underdeveloped, sadistic thug.
This is the contemptible double-standard in contemporary America.
Furthermore SNL chooses to air this skit to coincide with the dawn of the Lenten season, when millions of quiet, sincere, humble American Christians are seeking help from Jesus to be sorry for our shortcomings, and to try to be better people.
The core tragedy of the piece lies most fully in associating Jesus with violence and revenge.
Jesus refused that a single sword be drawn, even in his own defense when his life was in danger. As a violent mob descended on Jesus, he demanded a follower put up (re-sheath) his sword (Mt 26:52), and warned him about escalating cycles of violence.
Jesus Clears the Temple Courts
13 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” 17 His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
SNL has Jesus as a gruesome figure of revenge, yet the final act in Jesus life was to pray for the Romans. As Jesus hung to die, Roman Centurions gambled over his clothes. Jesus begged God’s forgiveness of them. With barely breath in his lungs Jesus tried to speak in defense of these men, arguing that their misdeeds were because of their ignorance. They did not understand what they were doing. (Luke 23:34)
SNL producers choose to portray a vengeful and violent Jesus on the eve of the most sacred and most reflective 40 days of the liturgical calendar. Hear still that barely audible prayer recorded in Luke.