After hammering season premiere musical guest Kanye West in both the cold open and the monologue, S.N.L. went after the singer once again during “Weekend Update.” The subject of Wests visit to the Oval Office signaled the welcome return of the popular “Really?!?” segment with Seth Meyers.
Instead of traditional partner Amy Poehler, Meyers was joined by current “Update” anchors and co-head writers Michael Che and Colin Jost. Mid-way through the bit, Che dropped an unedited N-word while aiming a joke at West. Che claims to have negotiated four uses of the word throughout the season and the pre-planned nature of this joke was backed up by a chyron that flashed on the screen marking off the first out of the four uses Che will no doubt deploy this year.
Is an unedited N-word even allowed on network tv? Technically, yes, but its still a very big deal. NBCs since-canceled series The Carmichael Show made headlines when it aired six unbleeped uses of the word last year. The shows star and creator Jerrod Carmichael defended his decision saying: “N-word is childish … Say it! We know what were talking about; were not speaking to children.”
Funnily enough, West was tangentially involved in another network show, Black-ish, tackling the epithet an episode titled “The Word” back in 2015. The plot centered around the Johnson familys reaction to their youngest (Miles Brown) getting suspended from school for using the N-word while singing Wests “Gold Digger.” At the time, Black-ish creator Kenya Barris told Vulture about the episodes inspiration:
I was like, Hold on! Why are these people saying this? [My daughter] was like —What, what, Dad? Everybody says it. Its not that big of a deal. Its just a word. I was like, WHAT? I went off on her. Do you know this isnt just a word? And I realized her relationship to it was just completely different than the way I was seeing it.
Ches bit will no doubt inspire another round of healthy discussion about the use of the word but its not exactly as if West himself can object to it.
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