‘Saturday Night Live’: Why McDonald’s Demanded ‘SNL’ Change This ‘Weekend Update’ Joke

by Jeremy Spirogis
Saturday Night Live cast

Saturday Night Live has comparatively free rein to joke about all kinds of subjects — due to Lorne Michael’s business affect, in addition to the truth that the present airs late on a weekend night time. However, Colin Jost revealed in his new memoir that SNL does certainly change jokes when advertisers request it. For instance, why did McDonald’s ask Saturday Night Live writers to alter this “Weekend Update” joke about them?

‘Saturday Night Live’ solid member Colin Jost publishes a memoir about writing for the NBC collection

Saturday Night Live cast
Saturday Night Live solid Beck Bennett, Leslie Jones, Bobby Moynihan, Jay Pharoah, Aidy Bryant, Kate McKinnon, Pete Davidson, Taran Killam, Vanessa Bayer, Michael Che, Kenan Thompson, Sasheer Zamata, Colin Jost, Kyle Mooney, Cecily Strong | Mary Ellen Matthews/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal by way of Getty Images

On comedy journalist Seth Simon’s SubStack web page, he did a couple of deep dives into Jost’s guide A Very Punchable Face. Perhaps probably the most attention-grabbing take that Simons extracted from the memoir? The secrets and techniques about Saturday Night Live that Jost may not even perceive he’s revealing. As the author places it: “the vaguely discernible outlines of stories Jost doesn’t realize he’s telling, and the revelations he doesn’t realize he’s making.”

One of these revelations kind of outs SNL for the best way the present capitulates to McDonald’s and different companies who take points with their jokes.

“This is a standard relationship for a present like SNL to have with its advertisers,” Simons clarified. “I’m not right here to counsel it makes SNL uniquely corrupt.” What the journalist did take subject with was the best way Jost wrote about company advertiser’s enter in his memoir.

Which ‘Weekend Update’ joke about McDonald’s received modified on ‘SNL’?

In Jost’s chapter titled “Notes from the Censor,” he “details memorable notes he’s gotten from advertisers and NBC,” Simons reported.

The “Weekend Update” host maintains that “SNL writers are lucky to obtain few community notes,” and that “standards are lax” due to the late hour of the night time that the present airs.

Colin Jost on Weekend UpdateColin Jost on Weekend Update
Colin Jost on the “Weekend Update” | Will Heath/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal by way of Getty Images

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However, the writers at Saturday Night Live have certainly run into notes from advertisers, inflicting them to re-write jokes. One of Jost’s examples of that needed to do with fast-food large McDonald’s.

In A Very Punchable Face, Jost recollects penning this joke for a “Weekend Update” section:

McDonald’s is reportedly unveiling a brand new slogan: ‘Lovin’ Not Hatin’.’ Which narrowly beat out their different slogan: ‘Eat the Rats This Clown Killed.’

But McDonald’s, which was “a prominent advertiser on that particular show,” complained. Then, the advert division at NBC despatched the SNL staff this message:

In the McDonald’s joke, may the clown not particularly kill rats? We’re nice if the clown kills one thing, however we’d favor if it wasn’t particularly rats. McDonald’s has by no means offered rat meat.

The Saturday Night Live writers subsequently up to date the joke to the next:

McDonald’s is reportedly unveiling a brand new slogan: ‘Lovin’ Not Hatin’.’ Which narrowly beat out their different slogan: ‘Eat What This Clown Killed!’

Colin Jost’s attention-grabbing relationship with ‘Saturday Night Live’ company advertisers

Jost’s response to the change in his guide? That the McDonald’s word “might make the joke even better?”

“And it made me like McDonald’s more as a corporation, because they were relatively cool about the joke,” Jost continued.

For starters, Simons didn’t see how the Saturday Night Live author would really like the corporate extra after they requested to change his personal joke to one thing much less particular — contemplating that specificity and element are likely to objectively make issues funnier. Also, the re-write is little doubt extra favorable to McDonald’s as an organization.

But it additionally dives into an even bigger subject about who’s allowed to inform jokes on the collection — and what sort of jokes they’re.

Just as a result of, for instance, Saturday Night Live doesn’t make overtly branded content material, “SNL’s sponsors purchase the facility to manage how they’re made enjoyable of,” Simons argued.

“For many of them this is probably the whole point!” the journalist continued. “Advertising isn’t solely about encouraging people to buy a product; it’s about creating positive associations with a brand.”

McDonald'sMcDonald's
A McDonald’s fast-food restaurant | Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Therefore, Simons desires to “interrogate SNL’s relationship with its advertisers extra broadly.” The means Saturday Night Live tells jokes — and what they joke about — could reveal extra about its ties to sponsors.

“‘Did a brand pay you to tell this joke?’ is only one question we can pose,” Simons defined. “The more important one may be, ‘Did a brand pay you not to tell some other joke?’”

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