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Saturday Night Live’s Joe Paterno Joke Falls Resoundingly Flat

Saturday Night Live is undoubtedly one of the most successful comedy programs in history. Weekend Update is the longest running individual feature of the show, and the one that most frequently provides bite to SNL’s commentary on current events.
That’s why it was somewhat surprising to hear Taran Killam, reprising his role as Jebediah the television critic, misfire so terribly on a joke. However, when trying to make light of Joe Paterno and the Sandusky scandal, a seasoned comedian should probably be able to tell that it won’t go over well. See for yourself (it starts with 2:15 left):
Killam’s joke was obviously in poor taste, but plenty of people have gotten big laughs out of cheap shots at Penn State before. However, it was so terrible, out-of-context, and tasteless, the audience’s response said it all. A mixture of shock and disapproval filled the air, the moment as cringeworthy as any standup act bombing on stage before Killam moved on. The delivery sealed the deal, with a Family Guy-esque “I haven’t seen X since Y” format that leaves just about no room for intelligent or interesting commentary.
Tossing out cheap potshots against Joe Paterno and PSU in 2015 is pretty unfunny and tasteless, no matter what spin you try and give it. In this scenario, SNL would’ve been better off just avoiding the topic all together. In fact, I have a better joke for them, for future use: “I haven’t seen something bomb as badly as that Taran Killam joke since Lost’s last season.”
Photo: Saturday Night Live

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About the Author

Noel Purcell

Noel Purcell is Onward State's Features Editor. He's a senior Supply Chain major, but is going to law school at some point in the future and masquerades as a writer for now. He continues to disappoint his ancestors by being a complete Irish stereotype. His email is [email protected] because there were no other Noels before him. His ex-wife got the good half of his bio in the divorce settlement.


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