14 'What?' Complaints the FCC Got About 'Saturday Night Live'

People mistaking the online complaint form for Twitter only explains SOME of these.
14 'What?' Complaints the FCC Got About 'Saturday Night Live'

"Saturday Night Live" is an American late-night live television sketch comedy and variety show created by Lorne Michaels and developed by Dick Ebersol. The show premiered on NBC on October 11, 1975, under the original title NBC's Saturday Night. The show's comedy sketches, which often parody contemporary culture and politics, are performed by a large and varying cast of repertory and newer cast members. Each week, the show features a host who delivers the opening monologue and performs in sketches with the cast as necessary.

Saturday Night Live is one of the longest-running, most popular sketch comedy shows in TV history. It's also been home to some of the best comedic duos in history. Some of these pairings were more than the sum of their parts and created some classic sketches.

Through a Freedom of Information Act Request, the website governmentattic.org got a hold of 361 complaints filed to the Federal Communications Commission between 2017 and 2020, mostly about SNL. While some are legitimate, rational concerns (local affiliates not properly broadcasting the show and the like), many aren't exactly in that category. You can read the document on your own -- but in case you're too busy, we have prepared a summary of the most, um, let's say, interesting content.

Mandatory Fun

THE FCC SHOULD PUNISH SNL FOR... NOT BEING FUNNY? Many gripe about the unfunniness of the show while mentioning other stuff - but this one person from Missouri City, Texas made that the entire point of their short complaint. Uh, what were they expecting the government to do about that, exactly? Send the comedians to lame jail?

The Right to Remain Silent

YOU AREN'T ALLOWED TO HAVE OPINIONS ON TV, A LEGAL GENIUS EXPLAINS. Someone who hails from Florida (but who clearly has a law degree from the University of American Samoa) complains about both SNL and Stephen Colbert: Their personal political beliefs ... are not covered by the First Amendment. Uh, about that...

Blasphemous Bums!

SNL TAKES THE LORD'S NAME IN VAIN TOO GODDAMN OFTEN. Probably because Saturday night comes right before Sunday school, some take exception to this manner of abject blasphemy (with a couple asking if it's even legal). A beleaguered parent was asked by their daughter what guest Jim Carrey meant by that GD word. God damn you to Hell for this, SNL!


IS THIS PERSON DEMANDING SNL MAKE FUN OF THEM? ARE WE GETTING THIS RIGHT? Someone from Opelika, Alabama claiming to be an independent candidate for the presidency said they were being censored because no one was talking about them, and demanded to be given equal time on TV-including SNL. Which comedian would they prefer to play them, we wonder?


SNL SAID THE F WORD. PLEASE PUT THEM IN JAIL. Some viewers really don't like it when someone drops an F-bomb live. They seem to be getting used to it, though - when host Kristen Stewart did it in 2017, the FCC got over 20 complaints, but when it was Sam Rockwell the following year, they got just one. (I recorded it so I have proof, this one helpfully said.)

Wrong About Rights

FREEDOM OF SPEECH IS PROTECTED BY THE FIRST AMENDMENT BUT... Many complaints decry that SNL is dividing America (and not just into the It's funny vs. No it isn't camps). This person from St Augustine, Florida takes it to what they probably think is the logical conclusion - that constitutional protections shouldn't apply to the show. Nice.

Unfair Favoritism

SNL NEVER MAKES FUN OF HILLARY CLINTON, ACCORDING TO COMPLAINTS. They'd be silent if Hillary Clinton won, someone from Harrisonville, Missouri bravely denounces the shocking unfairness displayed by SNL. I hear nothing mocking the Democrat leadership, the person continues (presumably having turned the volume of their TV down).

Party On

SNL IS A POLITICAL PARTY, IT SEEMS. SNL is not entertainment, someone from Kenyon, Minnesota laments, it is a left wing political party - and therefore should  the opposite party equal time (that'd mean bringing back MadTV, we're guessing?). Speaking for ourselves, we totally believe that #KateMcKinnonWouldHaveWon.


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