Andrew Garfield led a tepid "SNL" episode last week that featured a fun, but strangely dated Justin Timberlake impression and good ol' gay panic, but the most unexpected moment of the evening was a "Weekend Update" check-in from new writer Leslie Jones, who spoke about Lupita Nyong'o's selection as People's Most Beautiful Person. Jones' stance isn't exactly the kind of punditry you'll see on "Extra." Check it out below, and be wary of some controversial language in there.
Jezebel weighed the pros and cons of Jones' flippant slave-breeding jokes, concluding that it "didn't present the very best of optics, and the whole bit came across as poorly-timed and jarring." Some of Jones' critics on Twitter responded with harsher verdicts, and Jones herself soon weighed in on the uproar with a series of killer tweets.
If anybody should be offended is white folks cause it's what they did. Y'all so busy trying to be self righteous you miss what the joke— Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) May 4, 2014
really is. Very sad I have to defend myself to black people. Now I'm betting if Chris Rock or Dave Chappelje did that joke or— Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) May 4, 2014
or jay z or Kanye put in a rap they would be called brilliant. Cause they all do this type of material. Just cause it came from a strong— Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) May 4, 2014
black woman who ain't afraid to be real y'all mad. So here is my announcement black folks, you won't stop me and Im gonna go even harder— Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) May 4, 2014
With all due respect to Jones' critics who are probably well-intentioned, how can you not agree with Jones' sentiments here? Her material in the "Weekend Update" bit was intentionally incendiary, and that is absolutely no different than what black standup comics have been performing for years. The difference is that Jones is a woman who hasn't garnered a worldwide reputation for controversial comedy yet, so her edgy jokes don't feel like they're in the "safe" hands of an Anointed Handler Of Edginess like Chris Rock or Dave Chappelle. Bottom line: I think it's fair for a self-defined strong black woman to joke about what strength once meant for black women. Maybe you don't think it's funny, but does that matter? It's an urgent sentiment coming from someone who believes comedy is an intellectual method of handling the unthinkable. That's always valuable. And often jarring too, which makes it even richer.