COMEDY’S SOCIAL (IR)RESPONSIBILITY: SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE’S RESPONSE TO DONALD STERLING SCANDAL

Tomasz Jacheć

Katedra Filologii Angielskiej Uniwersytet Warmińsko-Mazurski w Olsztynie



Abstrakt

In April 2014, an American network TMZ released recordings of a telephone
conversation between Donald Sterling (the then-owner of the NBA’s Los Angeles
Clippers franchise) and his mistress Vanessa Stiviano. In the conversation Sterling
made a number of racist remarks while criticizing Stiviano for posting a photo of herself
and Earvin Magic Johnson (African-American, former star of Los Angeles Lakers) on
Instagram. What followed was a torrent of criticism towards Sterling, a life-time ban
from the NBA and a $2.5 million fine imposed upon Clippers owner by newly appointed
NBA commissioner Adam Silver, national debate on racism in sports dominated by black
athletes, and Sterling’s continuous controversial public announcements. In the heat
of the scandal, Sterling was scrutinized, condemned and ridiculed in countless press
articles, radio broadcasts, and television shows – among others Saturday Night Live.
The SNL episode that aired on May 3rd, 2014 opened with a parody of press conference
organized by Adam Silver and Donald Sterling. This sketch, as well as other sketches,
performed that night featured a number of African-American characters. The obvious
intent of the episode’s jokes was to contribute to the criticism of Sterling in a humorous
fashion. However, an analysis, based on Raskin, Attardo and Willibald’s General Theory of Verbal Humor (GTVH), reveals a hypertext hidden within a juxtaposition of the
negative images of African-Americans and the positive images of whites presented in
the episode. The abovementioned hypertext poses a question on the social responsibility
of the comedians who, when creating ‘controversial’ material, operate in a culturally
biased context.


Słowa kluczowe:

comedy, satire, humor, semantic scripts, GTVH, racial profiling, Saturday Night Live×

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Opublikowane
2018-09-08

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Jacheć, T. (2018). COMEDY’S SOCIAL (IR)RESPONSIBILITY: SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE’S RESPONSE TO DONALD STERLING SCANDAL. Acta Neophilologica, 1(XVIII), 67–86. Pobrano z https://czasopisma.uwm.edu.pl/index.php/an/article/view/607

Tomasz Jacheć 
Katedra Filologii Angielskiej Uniwersytet Warmińsko-Mazurski w Olsztynie