Falling in line with other late-night liberals, NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” was conspicuously quiet about the sexual harassment allegations against media mogul and prominent Democratic donor Harvey Weinstein.
A New York Times report on Sunday revealed that the late-night comedy show did have relevant jokes prepared for Saturday’s show, but scrapped them at the last minute.
“The downfall of Harvey Weinstein would seem like obvious grist for TV’s late-night comedy shows,” the Times report noted, after breaking the story that Weinstein was facing three decades’ worth of allegations that he sexually harassed women last week.
Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes, and President Trump were all subjected to endless monologues from the late-night political pundits who call themselves comedians, but very few got into the subject of the liberal mega-donor falling from his lofty Hollywood perch on Thursday.
CBS’s Stephen Colbert, ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel, and NBC’s Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers all avoided the topic for two nights, after the story broke on Thursday detailing the allegations against Weinstein. “The Daily Show” addressed it momentarily in an episode on Thursday night.
“Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” was the only show to really talk about Weinstein on Sunday night. However, immediately after talking about Weinstein’s abhorrent behavior, Oliver pivoted to calling President Trump the “Weinstein of presidents.”
On Sunday, Weinstein’s own film studio fired him.
The lack of Weinstein-related jokes seemed especially glaring on the latest episode of “Saturday Night Live,” because the show has a history of responding to current news events that took place over the previous week.
“As it turns out, the show did have jokes about Mr. Weinstein ready — they just weren’t used, according to a person familiar with how Saturday’s episode was prepared,” the Times reported. Citing an anonymous source, they added that Weinstein jokes were cut during SNL’s dress-rehearsal.
The source further told reporters that “there were jokes about Weinstein in a comedy sketch that was dropped before airtime, and also in its ‘Weekend Update’ segment. These cuts were made simply because the material seemed to fall flat with the show’s studio audience.” The source said that the tone of Saturday’s show was greatly affected by the Las Vegas shooting massacre.
In honor of the victims, SNL’s broadcast opened with remarks and a performance by Jason Aldean, the country singer who was onstage at the festival when the shootings began. The show also featured long comic monologues from the ‘Weekend Update’ co-anchors, Colin Jost and Michael Che, who spoke in favor of gun control.
The absence of any commentary about the Weinstein scandal opened SNL to critics, who say the show was covering up for a prominent liberal.
The Daily Mail was able to catch executive producer Lorne Michaels later that night and ask why the show chose to avoid addressing the Weinstein scandal. Michaels quickly replied, “It’s a New York thing.” (See video below.)
The person familiar with Saturday’s episode said that his reference to “a New York thing” meant that the events surrounding Weinstein seemed at the time, like a New York media story, and he didn’t think a national television audience would get it.
The report went on to say that it is still possible for “Saturday Night Live” to address the topic in a new episode this coming Saturday.
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