The left is devouring itself yet again.
And on the menu this time is Michael Che, co-host of "Weekend Update" on "Saturday Night Live." During the show's segment a few days back, Che noted that President Joe Biden reversed former President Donald Trump's ban on transgender people serving in the military.
As the crowd dutifully responded with applause and cheers, Che continued: "It's good news — except Biden is calling the policy, 'Don't ask, don't tuck'" — a riff on the former policy known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," which prohibited the military from discriminating against gays and lesbians who kept their lifestyles to themselves.
The audience responded with decidedly nervous laughter as Che threw up his hands and haltingly said, "Which is not good news." After the camera shifted to co-host Colin Jost, Che elicited his own laugh and said, "Whatever."
Rose Dommu with Netflix editorial didn't find the joke very humorous:
This isn’t funny and so many people had to let this joke get to air y’all are dumb https://t.co/CyYQZXEeJX— Rose Dommu (@Rose Dommu) 1612117187.0
What happened next?
Outcry from Che's fellow leftists was loud and clear. LBGTQ Nation called his joke "transphobic."
Charlotte Clymer, a lesbian Army vet with Catholics For Choice, lambasted Che and "SNL": "What is Saturday Night Live's weird obsession with transphobic nonsense?" Clymer tweeted. "I honestly don't get it. It's so lazy and sad. Last night, Michael Che joked about the repeal of the trans ban being called 'don't ask, don't tuck' -- who is this 'joke' for?"
Clymer added, "For all the scaremongering over trans people, it never ceases to be incredibly creepy the way some cis people are obsessed with our bodies. It's gross and weird and creepy."
Others responded similarly:
- BuzzFeed Daily's co-host Zach Stafford said, "This is so gross wow."
- "They really need to sort out their writer's room," another commenter wrote. "Normalizing transphobia gets people killed."
- "I swear this is like Michael Che's whole schtick," another user said. "Never heard him tell a funny joke, so he has to compensate instead by saying s**t like this."
In fact, NBC News posted a number of tweets about the controversy, on its own Twitter page as well as twice on NBCOut — prompting one commenter to ask, "How many times are you going to tweet this, NBC News?"
Not the first time for Che
Salon said Che has faced previous criticism for anti-trans humor, noting that in 2019 he called Caitlyn Jenner by the celeb's former name (i.e., "dead naming") and misgendered the former Olympic champion.
The outlet also said Che was criticized for using a transphobic slur in his 2016 stand-up special "Michael Che Matters."
One might find it interesting — or perhaps not — that a number of Twitter users vigorously defended Che and SNL:
- "They are comedians," one commenter wrote. "The last I checked you go to comedy club, and comedians make fun of every constitutionally protected class. It has been for generations."
- "I don't think it is that much of a slight," another user said. "All groups are satirized on SNL. The crap done to mainstream groups is always open season. Accepting a group means you are fare game."
- "OK, I have a friend who is trans, and he shared a clip of this on Sunday because they thought it was funny," another commenter noted. "Their friends liked and shared it because they thought it was funny. Just saying, not everyone in the community was offended."
But one also wonders how enthusiastic their entreaties would be if a conservative had uttered the same joke.
Oh well. Che sera sera.