Well, if Chris Rock‘s much ballyhooed return to Saturday Night Live this weekend was to offend almost everyone in ‘Murica, then he succeeded with flying colors.
The SNL vet wasted no time breaking into a subversive monologue that tackled patriotic hypocrisy, capitalistic narcissism and the ridiculously delicious irony that Jesus’ birthday, as many Christians have dubbed December 25, is the cherry on top of the most materialistic holiday season in existence.
And this was Chris Rock-lite.
As with much of Rock’s humor, the 9/11 and Boston Marathon bombing bits were little nuggets of social commentary wrapped in a subjectively awkward—and potentially offensive—delivery. New York City is probably not the best place to make 9/11 jokes, but once people unclasp the pearls and pay attention to what (and whom) he was really mocking—the superficiality of human consumption and America’s willingness to capitalize off of anything, including, but not limited to White, blonde-haired baby Jesus—it becomes a little bit easier to see that the jokes were not on the victims. They were on us.
This is not to say that the jokes were, or will ever be funny. Some things are such emotional landmines that it’s almost impossible to get to the other side of jokes about them intact. Still, if SNL can make light of the murder of Trayvon Martin, less than two months after the unarmed teen’s slaying by neighborhood rent-a-cop George Zimmerman, with barely any outcry, I’m not sure they can be held to an arbitrary standard of political correctness now.