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Film and TV

Saturday Night Live resorts to tired old homophobia just weeks after RuPaul’s history-making appearance

Josh Milton March 3, 2020
John Mulaney (L) coyly squats down to the astonished delight of Beck Bennett in the Saturday Night Live skit. (Screen capture via YouTube)

John Mulaney (L) coyly squats down to the astonished delight of Beck Bennett in the Saturday Night Live skit. (Screen capture via YouTube)

Widely applauded both for its quality and cultural impact, queen of drag RuPaul gracing the Saturday Night Live (SNL) stage was a turning point for the American sketch show.

Yet, just weeks later, and it was back to the show’s regularly scheduled homophobic programming, apparently.

During the Weekend Update segment aired Saturday, it saw SNL‘s cold opening see Mike Pence – played by Beck Bennett – deliver a White Office press conference on the coronavirus.

In tightening White House grip on the outbreak, the vice president was tasked by US president Donald Trump to lead the country’s response to COVID-19.

What are the Saturday Night Live skits?

But in spoofing Pence, head writers Colin Jost and Michael Che leaned on tired, droll tropes of anti-gay folk being gay themselves for canned laughter, something we should really have left in 2009, let alone 2019.

The skit sees Pence declare that the viral outbreak is proving a test to his faith, just like “dinosaur bones and Timothée Chalamet”, before biting his lip provocatively.

Moreover, the episode also aired a 1940s-styled skit starring John Mulaney titled “The Admiral”. He played the brother to two sisters competing for the attention of an admiral, who is at the family home to “pick a wife”.

The “foppish” brother bursts into the room, probing a magnet for the admiral’s attention who apparently cannot resist “the twink” that is Mulaney’s petty naval officer.

For laughs, the brother coyly bends over suggestively, suck a lollipop… suggestively, measuring himself and squatting… suggestively, calling himself a “pass-around party bottom” and even sees the sisters try to kill their brother.

Yet, when they go to shoot him, the bullets end up blowing off his clothing, resulting in a vest and short-shorts combo.

Kate McKinnon, who played one of the sisters, is lesbian – all other actors on the skit identify as straight.

Maybe the humour the sketch touts belongs in the 1940s, too.

RuPaul was the first drag queen to host SNL.

RuPaul’s stint on Saturday Night Live was historic, being the first drag performer to host the show in its 45-year history.

For his opening monologue, RuPaul appeared out of drag, adding: “I am wearing my grandmother’s panties.”

RuPaul slapping SNL star Bowen Yang
RuPaul channeled Dynasty’s Dominique Deveraux in an unaired Saturday Night Live skit. (YouTube/SNL)

Repeating his “you’re born naked and the rest is drag” mantra, he explained: “Whatever you put on after you get out of the shower, baby that’s your drag.”

A later sketch saw RuPaul proclaim Pete Davidson’s doltish Chad character – and his “magnificent penis” – “the future of drag”.

“That face! Those cheekbones! These eyes!” RuPaul screams after spotting Chad.

“There’s something dynamic about you, boy. Have you ever done drag?”

“Naw, just weed and pills,” he replies.

More: John Mulaney, Kate McKinnon, rupaul, saturday night live, SNL

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