Did ‘SNL’ Rip-Off Billy Crystal’s Mildly Racist ‘SNL’ Monolgoue?

Thanks to the wonder of Netflix Instant Watch we’re now able to go back and relive all those years of SNL that we had only read about in Live From New York.  As we had previously mentioned, one of the seasons we were most curious about was the 84-85 season, the year that featured a bunch of ringers named Billy Crystal, Martin Short, Harry Shearer and Christopher Guest.  So as soon as we could we went right to season premiere, which began with a monologue from de facto lead cast member Crystal.  We were struck by a number of aspects of the act: how young Crystal looks; the perfectly 80s sweater; the dark, depressing subway platform set.  But what stayed with us most was this mildly racist bit about going to scary movies with African-Americans:

We’ve been meaning to upload this clip for a few weeks, but we were hoping to wait until we could procure better quality video.  But we bring it to you now, without further hesitation, because last week’s SNL basically used the same exact joke in its “Globe Theatre” sketch:

Curiously, the sketch is not available on Hulu.  Is a rights issue because they reworked a Black Eyed Peas song?  Or maybe “Let’s all go the lobby” is not public domain.  Or, perhaps. Mr. Crystal filed a plagiarism complaint.

Sadly, we’ll likely never know.

Either way, we’re a little concerned about how enthusiastic that one woman in the audience was when Crystal asked if anyone had “ever been to a scary film with a black audience” (it’s also kind of a weird question.  The 80s weren’t the 60s, right?).  Crazy times, man, crazy times.

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Filed under Rip-off, Saturday Night Live, Sha la la la, Woody Allen, Bar Mitzvahs & Bagels, You Decide

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