These sketches and scenes deal with some of the most controversial, hazardous subject matter possible. In all cases, the risks paid off in both hilarious and enlightening fashion.
Saturday Night Live: “Dinner Discussion”
The hot takes couldn’t be stopped after Babe published a report in which a woman recounted a sexual encounter with Master of None star Aziz Ansari, calling their date “the worst night of my life.”
Online and in person, readers debated whether Ansari’s actions constituted sexual misconduct. Last weekend, SNL addressed the myriad of opinions on the report and consequent reluctance many people may have to discuss it. A group of friends, including host Will Ferrell, find themselves panicked when the topic is broached at dinner.
Ansari issued a statement in response to the Babe story. “In September of last year, I met a woman at a party. We exchanged numbers. We texted back and forth and eventually went on a date,” he wrote. “We went out to dinner, and afterwards we ended up engaging in sexual activity, which by all indications was completely consensual.
“The next day, I got a text from her saying that although ‘it may have seemed okay,’ upon further reflection, she felt uncomfortable. It was true that everything did seem okay to me, so when I heard that it was not the case for her, I was surprised and concerned. I took her words to heart and responded privately after taking the time to process what she had said. I continue to support the movement that is happening in our culture. It is necessary and long overdue.”
Key & Peele: “Negrotown”
In the wake of several headline-dominating acts of police brutality, stars Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key used their musical talents to imagine a candy-colored place where black Americans can live their lives free of discrimination. (Warning: NSFW language in video)
Inside Amy Schumer: “A Very Realistic Military Game”
When Schumer’s character tries out her boyfriend’s combat game and chooses a female avatar, she’s confronted with a video version of the injustices sexual assault victims in the military may face.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: “A Diagnosis”
After attempting suicide in season 3 of the musical comedy, Rebecca (Rachel Bloom) is told by her psychiatrist that she was previously misdiagnosed with anxiety, depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder. As she awaits her new diagnosis, Rebecca expresses her excitement to finally be able to eliminate her “inner sense of confusion” and connect with the correct category of mentally ill people. The tune is catchy, hilarious and insightful, all at the same time.
The seventh episode of the Donald Glover-led dark comedy functioned as a show within a show. One segment of the faux talk show profiled Antoine Smalls, a black teenager who identifies as a 35-year-old white man. The character reminded viewers of Rachel Dolezal, the real life former NAACP leader who made headlines in 2015 when it was revealed that she pretended to be black.
Saturday Night Live: “Welcome to Hell”
As the Me Too and Time’s Up movements instigated a flood of sexual harassment and assault allegations, host Saoirse Ronan joined SNL‘s female cast members in a very special music video. “Welcome to Hell” pointed out that widespread harassment didn’t come as a shock to many women who have long been on the receiving end of abuse.
Chappelle’s Show: “The Racial Draft”
With an absurd sports-inspired premise, Dave Chappelle’s classic sketch explored the complex pressures of stereotypes, racial identity and culture. (Warning: NSFW language in video)
Inside Amy Schumer: “Last F—able Day”
Schumer nabbed an all-star group of guest stars, including Tina Fey, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Patricia Arquette, to skewer the entertainment industry’s shameful ageism. (Warning: NSFW language in video)