Saturday Night Live legend Tina Fey stopped by the second episode the show’s summer edition of Weekend Update Thursday night to address the recent events that happened in Charlottesville, Virginia. Fey, an alum of the University of Virginia, which is located in Charlottesville, said “it broke my heart” to see the various hate groups march on her former campus. Fey than transitioned to this coming weekend and the protests reportedly set to happen in multiple cities across the country and in doing so, proposed a unique solution for those looking to stage a counter-protest.
The idea is pretty simple. Instead of going to one of these hate-filled rallies and confronting a Nazi, potentially opening yourself up to some sort of violence, go to a local bakery, stay home and devour an entire sheet cake. If the toxicity of hate becomes too much, there’s a simple solution to that as well. Just lean down close to the cake and scream wildly into it for no one to hear except the frosting.
Fey then proceeded to demonstrate sheetcaking and in the process, rattled off a litany of gripes and grievances, sandwiched in between Fey’s customary wit, snark and sarcasm. And she did it all while stuffing cake in her mouth, an accomplishment onto it self.
Due to her eating, or sheetcaking, it was a little hard to understand all of what she was saying. So here are some of her best lines from the Thursday night appearance.
“The next time when you see a bunch of white boys in polo shirts screaming about taking our country back, and you want to scream ‘it’s not our country, we stole it. We stole it from the Native Americans. When they have a peaceful protest at Standing Rock we shoot at them with rubber bullets, but we let you chinless turds march through the streets with semi-automatic weapons.'”
“Who drove the car into the crowd, Hillary’s emails?”
“Don’t worry, guys. Some of the people in Charlottesville weren’t Klansmen, they were independent militias. Did you know there’s over 250 well-armed militias across the U.S. ready to mobilize at any time? And they’re not cops. They’re just militias and they train themselves.”
That line prompted Weekend Update co-host Michael Che to grab a chunk of cake and get in on the action.
“I say, where’s Paul Ryan in all this? He’s supposed to be the cool, young congressman, but you don’t know how to at somebody on Twitter? Racism is bad @realDonaldTrump, you pussy.”
Of course not everyone was a fan of Fey’s advocacy of sheetcaking, with some people taking issue with the idea that she was essentially telling people to stay home as opposed to going out and confronting evil head on.
Joe Berkowitz at Fast Company said people should feel disappointed in Fey. Her appearance should have been a cathartic moment for a country badly in need of a good laugh, but “they found instead was an exhibition of pre-November 2016 idealism, layered in with post-election despair like, well, like a sheetcake.” Berkowitz seems to be taking Fey’s bit pretty literally and takes issue with her suggestion that people stay home, saying that it rings eerily reminiscent of the Democrats goal of staying high, while Trump went low during the 2016 election. Seeing as how that didn’t exactly turn out how they planned, it wouldn’t make sense to stay the course there. In his mind, the entire concept of the bit is outdated because the threat is no longer confined to one person (a presidential candidate,) but actual, large groups of people waving the colors of Nazis and the Klan, among other hate groups.
“This kind of sentiment may have seemed funny and rang true when the threat was hypothetical,” Berkowitz says,” now that it’s staring us in the face and mowing us down with cars, it’s anything but.”
Some people on Twitter agreed with him.
While I understand this response, I don’t really agree with it and to be honest, I think people are missing the point of her bit. I do think she meant it when she said that people should let the Nazis scream into the void instead of screaming into people’s faces and there’s some merit to that. But I don’t think she literally meant that people should stay home and ignore the threat Nazis, Klans and other White Supremacists groups pose to our country.
If anything, I think Fey was having fun with the idea of employing coping mechanisms to help us get through a difficult time. For those who aren’t supporters or fans of the president, there have been no shortage of coping mechanisms employed these past few months, whether it’s binge-watching a mindless television show, going for a run or deep-diving into the murky waters of Game of Thrones’ fan theories. It doesn’t make you any less passionate or any less willing to take a stand. It just means you need a little break to clear your head.
The joy of comedy gets completely sucked out it when it gets exposed to a basic, literal interpretation of it. We shouldn’t take life lessons from comedy. That’s not what it’s there for. It’s there to make us laugh, to provide us with some relief and to make us think of things in different ways.
I for one, after watching that bit, didn’t think that Fey was advocating for a let the Nazis have their fun mentality. I just thought it was funny. And for that I was grateful.