I’m gonna level with you, I’ve honestly been kind of bored by SNL becoming the comedy leaders against Trump, especially since they arguably did more than Jimmy Fallon’s hair ruffle to normalize and soften his bigoted bullshit by letting him guest host (that was also just a supremely unfunny episode). Watching the show post-election become weirdly essential due to Trump’s own thin-skinned hatred of it is a very bizarre experience, particularly because it’s barely driven by SNL and its players themselves, except for Kate McKinnon: It’s more a platform for bigger stars like Melissa McCarthy and Alec Baldwin to do all the heavy lifting. And dear lord, did we really need a Weekend Update spin-off, helmed by the most inessential comedians alive?
I’m straying from the topic. Tina Fey was on Weekend Update this week, and the results were mixed.
Wearing her University of Virginia jersey, where she graduated from in 1992, she talked about how watching the Charlottesville Nazi invasion broke her heart: ‘Anyway, Donny John comes out and he says that he condemns violence on many sides, and I’m feeling sick because I’ve seen Raiders of the Lost Ark and I wasn’t confused by it. Nazis are always bad. I don’t care what you say.’
She then mentioned the upcoming alt-right rallies (can we just call them Nazis already? None of this euphemism bullshit?), including one planned this Saturday for New York’s Washington Square Park: ‘Part of me hopes these neo-Nazis do try it and get the ham salad kicked out of them by a bunch of drag queens, because you know what a drag queen still is? A six-foot-four black man.’
Sigh. Fey gonna Fey.
Fey’s advice to potential counter-protesters was to steer clear because ‘I don’t want any more good people to get hurt.’ Fair enough, what with the whole literal murders going on, but maybe not the best mode of action. Her recommendation?
‘So I would urge people this Saturday instead of participating in these screaming matches and potential violence, find a local business that you support — maybe a Jewish-run bakery, or an African-American-run bakery. Order a cake with the American flag on it like this one and just eat it.’
Okay, so here’s the thing.
The rest of the segment’s actually pretty funny, although ‘Yard sale Barbie’ is a kinder description than Ann Coulter deserves. It’s also worth noting that the Southern Poverty Law Centre’s own advice for ways to fight hate after Charlottesville suggests avoiding such protests and creating alternative rallies, including creative ways to strengthen community through peace, entertainment and even food. Support your local businesses, guys! Those Nazis probably do hate that sheet cake (although the cake Fey’s eating seems dry). It can feel so damn easy to sink into powerlessness and fear and stress-eating, simply because you don’t know what to do and the options available scare the shit out of you.
But there are options and they’re not all easy. None of this will ever be easy again. Protesting Nazis is a basic human requirement, but you can’t help but be terrified of the possibility that taking such a simple fucking stance could result in grievous harm to you and your community.
Hearing Fey, someone of privilege and a minor history of her foot being directed into her mouth, someone who’s a bit too quick to sink into the ‘poor over sensitive SJW’ millennial strawman jokes on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, telling you to tap out on protesting is probably an aggravating sight to many, and I don’t blame them. How often have we been told to sit out giving a shit, including in voting, because ‘it won’t make a difference’? That’s the part of the segment most people will remember. That’s a shame. Even discussing this problem in the context of Fey’s segment will inevitably lead to her airing her grievances on season 4 of Kimmy Schmidt like she’s Aaron Sorkin or something.
Fight on, do what you have to do, and be safe.
That cake also looks like shit, which is a major disservice to Team Cake.
If you are interested in ways to fight hate following Charlottesville, check out the SPLC’s advice pamphlet.