Before I begin this post, a little bit about me: I love stand-up and great sketch comedy. Since 1993, I have done improv comedy in the Boston area with ImprovBoston, a Boston comedy institution. I love humor that is intelligent yet hilarious (why someone like Eddie Murphy or Chris Rock is genius). I wanted to share my background since what I am going to say next might sound a little bit knee-jerky.
NBC’s Saturday Night Live, one of the TV’s longest-running brands (and some say a brand that has run too long), still doesn’t get it when it comes to Latinos and comedy. Its only Latino cast member is Fred Armisen (half-Venezuelan), who has been on the show for 9 years and developed the “Fericito” characters and the catchphrase “I’m just keeeeeeding.” There is no major high-profile Latino comedy writer, and quite frankly, SNL just misses the boat.
It is as if SNL has one theme when it comes to Latinos: always have them speak with accents because that is funny. Got it, SNL. You have been doing that same tired bit since Garrett Morris (a non-Latino) played Chico Escuela (“Ebaseball has been berry berry good to me.”) in the 1970s.
The show has never had an Eddie Murphy Latino equivalent (Horatio Sanz? Really?) and I am convinced that it never will, unless SNL realizes that if you are going to try and target key demographics, you should at least try to be funny.
So instead of getting comedy that might actually connect with a growing and savvy US Latino demographic, we get skits like these (ESPN Deportes), which ran on the January 16 show with Gwenyth Paltrow:
Ok, the idea of the skit is funny. The execution is not. Yeah, we get it, but it could have been so much more clever. Maybe actually having bilingual and bicultural writers on your staff might actually help? Yes, SNL we get it, ever since Chico Escuela, your characterizations of Latinos of unintelligent, foreign and party-loving dolts is a theme that we’re tired of.
So less skits about “The Manuel Ortiz Show,” like this one:
And more skits that just, mmh, maybe just have some real Latino talent doing mainstream comedy?
Maybe it just doesn’t matter to you.
But we’re not keeeeeeding.