Seth Meyers's Gay 'SNL' Damage Control InterviewLast week's SNL had no less than eight sketches featuring gay themes or gay content. The comedy in these sketches, without exception, derived from one of three premises: 1. Men kissing or otherwise enjoying each other's bodies. 2. Men acting effeminately. 3. Men describing the sex they've had with other men. And then there was that part where Seth Meyers silenced the anti-Prop 8 audience by telling then, "OK. Vote's over." All this led us to describe the proceedings as a gay minstrel show. The Advocate approached Meyers to defend the episode. Unfortunately, the one question we really wanted the head SNL writer to answer—what was up with that "Vote's over" thing?—is never addressed. He did have lots of defensive things to say about the rest of the show. Here are the greatest hits, in no particular order.
Meyers: One of the things [Bobby Moynihan] auditioned with was Snagglepuss. I can tell you, as a new cast member your radar is always up to find ways to get the stuff you brought with you on the air. As it turned out that was a pretty funny way to get it in.
Meyers: Not to minimize, it but we are having the same issue this week with Thanksgiving. [Laughs] [...] I will say that it will be much harder with Thanksgiving because they will all look the same, where as with last week there were a lot of different looks.
Advocate: I think the gay community read [the kissing family scene] as a metaphor for learning not to judge how one family chooses to love. It is interesting that it wasn't intentional.
Meyers: If you are talking about something like gay rights or you are talking about politicians or anything that people feel deeply about, you can't try to not offend anyone. The comedy has to have teeth to some degree. Also, we have gay writers here, and I can sort of speak for everyone who works here that this is a place that feels strongly on the right side of that issue.
Advocate: Well, I think for the most part the gay community liked the show. Meyers: That is good to hear. I will say you don't love hearing, in the blogosphere or anywhere else, that people feel like you crossed a line. When that happens you step back and say, "Well, did we do anything?" But I look back on this one and I stand behind everything that happened.
Meyers: I don't think we have ever done anything mean-spirited, because honestly, mean doesn't play very well here. You wouldn't be able to get away with it at the table if you wrote something and people thought your point of view was closed-minded.
The point isn't that the writing was mean-spirited; it's that it's lazy, and dated, and relies on gayness as a punchline unto itself. Two openly gay mechanics in love bickering over their wedding plans is actually a premise that could produce some well-observed comedy. But two deeply closeted mechanics admitting to sucking dick in glory holes, then suddenly announcing their engagement, is something else entirely. It's a Yes on 8 ad. And while we're sure some of their best writers are gay, you know what might help even more? How about convincing Lorne Michaels to hire his first second openly gay SNL cast member? (Terry Sweeney doesn't count. That was the Dick Ebersol-produced season Apparently Terry Sweeney does count but that was over 20 years ago.) HAHAHA! Just kidding—we know that will never happen. Who's going to laugh at two guys sucking face when you know one's totally getting his rocks off by Andy Samberg while doing it?