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SNL short a lot less funny due to Virginia Tech shootings

April 16, 2007

vatechshooting (AP/CNN)

I’ve been watching the horrific news from Virginia Tech’s campus today, where a gunman (or perhaps more) took 22+ lives and injured scores of others with the ensuing chaos.

Monday is also the day I usually put together my Monday Morning Videos feature for this blog, which was to include this video from NBC’s Saturday Night Live, called “Dear Sister” — a SNL Digital Short by Andy Samberg and Bill Hader.

The clip is below (until it’s pulled by NBC…which it has been on every site out there so far…check here if it’s been deleted.).

This video got laughs from me this morning (mostly because of the goofy song by Imogen Heap in the background that resets after each shot), but now, in light of the tragedy in Blacksburg, it’s a lot less funny.

[UPDATE: This Youtube clip suggests that the whole film short was a spoof of the second season finale of “The O.C.” Other tributes to the sketch are showing up with montages from “South Park” and “The Departed” … even kids’ show “Lazytown” (WARNING: R-Rated/Graphic violence in each). And also Harry Truman from WWII? And in LEGOs too! So it looks like the efforts to erase this clip from the collective memory will go for naught. Good thing I TiVoed the episode.]

Senseless violence just didn’t push my funny buttons after about 9 a.m. today. NBC has either chosen to not post this video on their SNL site, or has deleted it in light of the news. It’s also removed from the episode highlight reel for purchase on Apple iTunes.

Good call on their part, either way. The humor of the sketch is/was a bit questionable due to the black comedy of the segment itself. The comedy just isn’t as obvious as a talking, gigantic turkey sub. YouTubers are posting their own opinions of the sketch here, here, and here.

Our prayers go out to the victims and their families at Virginia Tech. What’s wrong with this world anyway?

[UPDATE 2: Here’s a link to make a donation to a memorial fund for the victims of the Virginia Tech massacre.]

[UPDATE 3 4/25: NBC is saying that the “Dear Sister” sketch was not put online due to licensing issues over the Imogen Heap song.  They have not stated whether or not the sketch would have been pulled or not due to the tragedy.]

  1. Diana permalink
    April 16, 2007 6:56 pm

    I agree. The SNL video is a lot less funny because of what happened this morning.

    Today, I was interviewing a friend from Virginia and he said he still plans to apply to Virginia Tech in his senior year. He also said that although there have been incidents in the area such as the sniper in D.C., and school shootings such as Columbine and the Amish schoolhouse shooting, it’s scary that the Virginia Tech shooting “surpassed them” in being the deadliest in U.S. history.

  2. April 16, 2007 9:51 pm


    I just watched it on TiVo and had the same thought. I figured I wasn’t alone, hit a blog search and found your post.

    It’s funny how context can do that.

  3. April 17, 2007 12:37 pm

    i still thought that it was quite funny…….get a sense of humor

  4. April 17, 2007 12:42 pm

    Chad, it’s not the sense of humor, it’s just the appropriate-ness of the clip after the shootings. Think 9/11, and how long it took shows to go back to being funny afterwards. Same here.

  5. April 17, 2007 7:20 pm

    Yeah this was verry funny in my opinion. What is evryone going to ban shooting movies just because of 1 incedent. I wanted to show my friend this video and now I cant.

  6. April 17, 2007 9:10 pm

    It has certainly changed the context of the clip for me, and it’s interesting to see that NBC has now taken down the clip. They had left up unauthorized versions on YouTube (Their own was held up by legal issues, apparently) for quite some time, but have since cracked down heavily on them. This is the right move, considering the circumstances, but I can only hope that Jack Thompson’s (As I see from your “Dug” list) arguments don’t gain too much public attention. This is an issue of sensitivity, not blame.

  7. April 17, 2007 10:13 pm

    I actually really liked this dark comedy on Saturday Night Live and am really disappointed that they took it off. I understand the sensitivity of the issue, but it doesn’t prevent me from enjoying comedies like these. What makes it funny is that it’s obviously not really happening (i.e. the impossible movement of the gun from one shooter to the other along with two cops firing at each other for no reason). As heartless as this may sound, I really wish that Americans would stop being so sensitive. Comedy is comedy and real life is real life. If seeing a farce where people shoot each other bothers someone, then they shouldn’t watch it. They have as much self-control as the next guy.

  8. Missy permalink
    April 18, 2007 7:45 am

    I mean this in THE most respectful of ways.. but people get shot everyday. VA Tech was an absolutely horrific, senseless tragedy and nothing will take away from that fact. It was terrible and my prayers are with everyone involved. But to remove the SNL clip because of it doesn’t make any sense. It was made BEFORE the shootings took place, and very obviously made to parody The O.C. season finale. I guess everytime someone dies at gunpoint, we should eradicate any and every form of entertainment involving gunfire? Please.

  9. April 18, 2007 12:03 pm

    @ Missy
    I have to agree, I don’t understand why our country has gotten so sensitive. What’s next they blame the skit for causing this Tragedy?

  10. Jon permalink
    April 18, 2007 12:44 pm

    I don’t know why people try to mix comedy with tragedy. They’re two separate entities, hence the masks. Come on, people, don’t get all teary eyed over an SNL skit.

  11. April 18, 2007 7:53 pm

    It is not not even the same scenairio. They were just shooting each other randomly. Are they ever going to put it back so people can see it?

  12. April 20, 2007 7:07 am

    I see no connection, and am irked by the over-sensitivity of the situation. People are murdered everyday. It’s a tragic shame, but a fact of life. The video was funny before, during, and after the shooting.

  13. C.L. permalink
    April 20, 2007 2:25 pm

    I think some people aren’t getting the point of “Dear Sister”: it’s a satire on the melodramatic way that violence is depicted on TV and in movies. It’s not enough just seeing someone get shot, you have to do it in slow motion and show blood and have the actors make pained facial expressions and play a dark, disturbing song, etc. The VT shootings if anything confirm the point of the Digital Short: that violence and senseless murder are real and don’t involve cool camera angles or edgy music.

  14. April 22, 2007 3:05 am

    It’s just a sketch that parodies over-dramatic deaths, but VT shooting and the sketch has one big thing in common: multiple deaths in a room.

    The sketch was a bit too dark-themed but the expressions are just plain silly and unrealistic, that’s just how Samberg and his Lonely Island buddies make those shorts with dark-themed elements.

  15. David permalink
    April 23, 2007 9:54 am

    er, this was hilarious and still is. it doesn’t stop being funny because real life happens. anyway, if the VT shootings hadn’t happened i’m sure people wouldn’t be getting all distressed because of all the other shootings that happen across the world every day.

  16. Moe Golden permalink
    April 25, 2007 6:49 am

    It was a well-done absurd sketch, a nice rib at the conventions of the plot twist and editing of shows like ‘The OC’ – something fresh for SNL.

    Unfortunately, with the hindsight of what would happen two days later, we can’t look at it in the same way. It had to be removed, if only for the hordes who might think it was filmed after the fact.

    But also unfortunately, it may never make a dvd anyway because of the music publishing royalties -and the song is what most clearly connects it to the OC specifically.

  17. a. peluso permalink
    May 4, 2007 2:15 am


    You people aren’t really this sensitive. You just like to pretend you are because your television says you should be.

    This is a hilarious satire and doesn’t deserve to be censored by milquetoasts like yourselves.

  18. AUSTIN. permalink
    May 24, 2007 11:05 am

    You people really are hilarious.

    This is one of the funniest sketches Saturday Night Live has done in their 32 year history and it’s being treated this way over a school shooting that happened AFTER the sketch was aired?

    Are you serious?

  19. bobolu permalink
    June 14, 2007 12:51 am

    Interestingly enough, the shooter sent in his footage to NBC, the same network which showed this tasteless crap only several hours earlier. I wondered while watching it saturday night what might go down now that they’re making light of a dark situation. Nearly every one of Andy’s videos are violent or angry. Take a count of how many involve guns. How funny can killing be? If we make comedy out of the most horrible things out there, then everything starts becoming acceptible, right?

  20. Chris permalink
    June 22, 2007 12:43 pm

    violence and senseless murder done to a song will never stop being funny no matter how hard online critics suck.

  21. Unknown Organ permalink
    July 11, 2007 7:10 pm

    That shit was hilarious to me! You need to get a sense of humor. “Umm, whatcha say?” LOL!

  22. Armando permalink
    August 5, 2007 12:21 am

    I watched it tonight (Sat. August 4, 2007). Guess they realized how funny it is and put it back on the air. That song is hilarious.

  23. George permalink
    August 18, 2007 7:27 pm

    It might not be as conventionally funny, but it’s a lot more relevant and topical due the the VTech shootings. The short is a comment on ridiculous, pointless, callous violence set to trendy music that pervades “dramatic” and nonsensical shows meant for teens. If people can make 1,000,000 versions of the spoof set to other scenes, it just proves the short’s point even more: that our popular culture is steeped in an abundance of manipulative violence. A lot of dummy’s didn’t get that and they think it’s just funny, but is that the fault of the people who made this short? And the activities of a few clearly depraved minds (VTech, Columbine) can hardly rob the short of it’s intentions.

  24. Kelsey permalink
    February 21, 2008 6:52 pm

    I understand the point you are trying to make, and I really do agree in some aspects. I think they should have taken off the video for a short period of time afterwards to honour and respect the virgina tech shooting which was tragic.

    However, as a fan of the video, and as someone who understands humor whether it be ridiculus or not, i feel the video should not be taken away forever because it was just that- a video, a humor one to make fun of the OC. It wasn’t directed at the shooting and it wasn’t meant to make light of the situation. I really thought that video was funny and I am upset it is off the internet and nowhere to be found.


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