Advertisers Give More Notes On 'Saturday Night Live' Sketches Than Producers
Recently, Saturday Night Live "Weekend Update" anchor Colin Jost released his memoir A Very Punchable Face, and within it are all of the anecdotes you'd expect. He poops his pants, there's some inside gossip about his relationship with Scarlett Johansson, there are some revelations about the week Donald Trump hosted, more pants pooping. (This guy poops his pants a lot.)
But all of the cheeky and butt-cheeky talk-show bits aside, I did find something actually interesting. Colin Jost talks a lot about the corporate sponsors, and, as writer Seth Simons points out, he also displays a tremendous cognitive dissonance in kowtowing to their whims.
Jost admits that it isn't the producers up top who are responsible for noting SNL's sketches to death, but rather it's the advertisers that are the problem. One joke, for example, started off like this:
"McDonald's is reportedly unveiling a new slogan: 'Lovin' Not Hatin'' Which narrowly beat out their other slogan: 'Eat The Rats This Clown Killed.'"
McDonald's didn't like that, presumably because the rats they kill are not meant to be eaten, but rather, are ground up into the Shamrock Shake extract so that you can drink them. So SNL was forced to change the joke to this:
"McDonald's is reportedly unveiling a new slogan: "Lovin' Not Hatin,'' Which narrowly beat out their other slogan: "Eat What This Clown Killed!"
Jost finds this to be the better joke (it's not) and basically thanks McDonald's for pushing him to find it. Ugh. Jost's confused psychology about the matter aside, corporate sponsors do meddle in Hollywood affairs all of the time.
McDonald's effectively ended Tim Burton's tenure directing Batman, forcing the studios to go with the more lighthearted and campy Joel Schumacher for Batman & Robin. The Walking Dead was careful never to show a bloodied or dented or damaged Hyundai SUV, despite a zombie apocolypse kind of being the sort of thing that might lead you to tracking a bit of mud into the front seat. Morgan Spurlock even made a film about corporate sponsorship ruining TV and cinema titled POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, and even within that film, you have to wonder if POM Wonderful exhibited creative control.
It's the price we pay for watching the movies and shows we like to watch, I guess, but damn, Colin, you don't have to be so McHappy about it.
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Top Image: NBC