SNL Cold Open Skewers Columbia University's Response to Protests

SNL Cold Open Skewers Columbia University's Response to Protests

In a recent "Saturday Night Live" episode, the show presented a sketch centered around the theme of college protests, particularly those that are pro-Palestinian. The comedy sketch, set in a mock talk show format titled "Community Affairs," featured Kenan Thompson as Alphonse, a father grappling with his daughter's participation in campus protests at Columbia University. Alphonse, whose daughter Alexis Vanessa Roberts is an African-American studies major, is depicted as initially supportive of the protests but grows increasingly critical, especially in light of the high tuition costs he is paying—$68,000 a year—and the potential impact on graduation ceremonies.

The sketch also included characters played by Heidi Gardner and Mikey Day, portraying parents who are navigating their children's involvement in the protests, which have escalated to the occupation of an administration building and resulted in numerous arrests. The episode refrained from delving into the complexities of the Gaza issue itself, focusing instead on the parents' perspectives and the cost of college education.

In addition to Thompson's character expressing a nuanced view—supportive of protests in general but not when it involves his own child—the segment also played on cultural stereotypes with jokes about Black families at graduation ceremonies. Host Michael Longfellow facilitated the roundtable discussion, which served as a platform to address the broader dialogue on campus activism and its implications for students and their families.


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