Saturday Night Live decided to tackle the news of the week with a cold open that satirized the Congressional hearings that brought the Ivy League presidents of Harvard, MIT, and the University of Pennsylvania to Capitol Hill.
The most memorable moment of the testimony came when Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) asked the leaders to condemn the rising antisemitism on their campuses. But rather than mock the mealy mouth responses of the college presidents, SNL went after the congresswoman.
The backlash was swift, and, on Tuesday’s show, Megyn was joined by The Daily Wire’s Andrew Klavan, author of The House of Love and Death, to discuss the controversial sketch and the demise of comedy.
SNL’s Controversial Cold Open
The cold open of the December 9 episode of SNL featured cast member Chloe Troast as Stefanik. “Now I’m gonna start screaming questions at these women like I’m Billy Eichner,” Troast said.
After the actors playing Harvard President Claudine Gay, former UPenn President Liz Magill, and MIT’s Sally Kornbluth failed to give yes or no answers to the questions about condemning antisemitism as they did in the hearing, Troast quipped that “if you don’t say yes, you’re gonna make me look good, which is really, really hard to do.”
She went on from there. “I am here today because hate speech has no place on college campuses,” Troast said in the skit. “Hate speech belongs in Congress, on Elon Musk’s Twitter, in private dinners with my donors, and in public speeches by my work husband Donald Trump.”
It didn’t take long for the internet to determine that the sketch missed the mark. “The skit was atrocious,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt wrote on X (formerly known as Twitter). “The sentiment even more appalling.”
Hollywood Culture Wars
It’s not that SNL can’t parody the hearings, Megyn said, but rather that it went after the wrong target. “I think this would be TV gold to get out there and mock Claudine Gay, and Liz Magill, and the other gal from MIT… who was also a nightmare,” Megyn said. “They went the other way. It wasn’t about mocking the absurdity of their cold, thoughtless, emotionless response – it was all about Elise Stefanik.”
Klavan, who called the sketch “insanely unfunny” and “laugh free,” said that SNL couldn’t go after the colleges because there is no room for diversity of thought in Hollywood these days. “The blacklist out there is real – the people who disagree with this point of view cannot get work,” he said. “Even the slightest thought that a man can’t become a woman is enough to render you unemployable.”
In his view, “the left has taken over the arts completely,” which is “a serious, serious cultural failure of the right.” While Americans were once known for “being fearless in the expression of our opinions, no matter what rank we held in the social scale,” Klavan believes the SNL skit proves just how much that has changed. “The fact that the people at SNL could not come out and make jokes about the blindness of the Ivy League and the deafness of the Ivy League when they hear cries for the extermination of the Jews, it’s just part of that,” he said. “It’s just the tip of the iceberg of the depth of the fear that is now everywhere in our culture.”
Ultimately, he issued a challenge. “It’s up to us on the right to fight back against it,” he concluded. “It’s up to us on the right to create a world in which culture and art can be created that speaks back into that fear, and we haven’t done it yet.”
You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Klavan by tuning in to episode 684 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.