Bill Burr's Controversial SNL Opening Monologue on Race and Pride Month Draws Mixed Reactions

The comedian was criticized for his jokes about cancel culture, white women and Pride Month

Bill Burr Saturday Night Live
Photo: Will Heath/NBC

Bill Burr is in the hot seat after his controversial opening monologue from last weekend's episode of Saturday Night Live.

During his sketch, the 52-year-old comedian didn't hold back as he made blistering jokes addressing cancel culture, white women and Pride Month.

Not long after taking the stage on Saturday night, Burr jumped into a joke about how people are "literally running out of people to cancel." "They're going after dead people now. They're trying to cancel John Wayne. It's like, God did that 40 years ago," he said.

The commentary shifted to how white women have "hijacked the woke movement."

"Generals around the world should be analyzing this," he joked. "The woke movement was supposed to be about people of color not getting opportunities that they deserve. ... Then somehow, white women swung their Gucci-booted feet over the fence of oppression and stuck themselves at the front of the line."

Burr called out white women for ignoring their own contribution to racial oppression.

"The nerve of you white women," he said. "You guys stood by us toxic white males through centuries of our crimes against humanity. You rolled around in the blood money, and occasionally, when you wanted to sneak off and hook up with a Black dude, if you got caught, you said it wasn’t consensual. Yeah, that’s what you did! ... So, why don’t you shut up, sit down next to me and take your talking-to?"

As he neared the end of his monologue, Burr brought up Pride Month, asking the audience if they thought it was "a little too long" of a celebration.

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"For a group of people that were never enslaved ... how did they get all of June?" he said, comparing Pride Month to Black History Month in February.

"Black people were actually enslaved and they get February, they get 28 days of overcast weather, sun goes down at 4 in the afternoon, everyone is shivering," he said.

Burr's monologue drew mixed reactions, with some praising the comedian on social media while others called him out.

New York Times best-selling writer Roxane Gay tweeted that the monologue "was f------ hilarious. And so well crafted minus the cancel culture part that bombed."

"Made it about one minute into Bill Burr’s SNL monologue before I had to change the channel. In this cultural moment, SNL really thought the best choice for a host was a white male standup ranting about 'Cancel Culture?'" one person tweeted.

Another person added, "How about you NOT pick hosts who say things like 'Gays weren’t enslaved' Even if his 'joke' is to point out Black people suffered more. Help him search 'Stonewall' and 'Matthew Shephard'. And not pick ones who say 'My bitches' about any women."

"Bill Burr's opening monologue is just obnoxious and misogynstic," a third wrote. "It's 2020. Someone tell him calling women 'bitches' isn't funny."

"Bill Burr’s monologue segment re: WW wasn’t anything to be celebrated and I’m again disappointed at Black folks aligning with gendered insults just to take digs at white women," another added. "That whole segment was misogynistic trash just like the 'Karen' nonsense."

Others called his bit about Pride Month "homophobic."

"I’ve watched every episode for the past 15 years and this made me so sad as a gay man. A straight white man making 'jokes' about Pride Month is homophobic and setting us way back. And on the eve of #ComingOutDay? really disappointed," one person shared.

However, others praised Burr for "speaking the truth."

"I love that Bill Burr made a perfect joke about white women making everything about us and then a bunch of white women on Twitter lost their minds because they think it was a mean joke. Thus....proving his point," one person wrote.

"Fellow white women - if you are responding to Black men or Black women about Bill Burr and joining white women to complain about misogyny - congrats! You’re doing what Bill Burr said you would. High jacked the message and avoided being called out for upholding white supremacy," another person said.

A third added, "Bill Burr saying white women need to sit down next to white men and take a talking to isn't sexist, and it's not him excusing himself from that group."

A rep for Burr did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

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