SNL Cold Open Centers on Columbia University’s Handling of Protests

By Chanak Maduranga

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SNL Cold Open Centers on Columbia University’s Handling of Protests

Saturday Night Live‘s latest cold open centered on Columbia University’s handling of the pro-Palestinian protests on campus amid the Israel–Hamas war.

During the sketch, Mikey Day, Kenan Thompson and Heidi Gardner played concerned parents of students participating in the protests.

Last week, hundreds of demonstrators were arrested after the school’s president called the New York Police Department to help restore order on campus. Police cleared the university’s Hamilton Hall after protesters occupied the administration building earlier in the day.

After being asked their thoughts on the protests, Gardner initially responded, “It’s been tough. Now, I’m all for free speech, but I don’t understand what they think they’re accomplishing and that’s really putting a strain on me and my daughter’s relationship.”

Thompson later shared his thoughts: “Nothing makes me prouder than young people using their voices to fight for what they believe in.” However, once Michael Longfellow’s Ryan Aper expressed that his daughter must feel very supported by him when protesting, his tone completely changed.

“Nah man, you bugging. Alexis Vanessa Roberts better have her butt in class. Let me find out she in one of them damn tents instead of the dorm room that I pay for,” Thompson snapped, as Longfellow noted, “I thought you were in favor of the student protest.”

“Man, I am supportive of y’all’s kids protesting, not my kid,” Thompson added. “My kid knows better. Shoot Alexis Vanessa ain’t crazy.”

Longfellow proceeded to ask the parents if they were worried about the increased police presence, and their children potentially getting arrested.

While Gardner said, “One of my worst fears is my daughter getting thrown behind bars,” it’s safe to say Thompson felt different.

“I ain’t worried about Five-O, that is not my business,” he said. “My business is Alexis Vanessa Roberts. OK? She ain’t talking about no free this, free that, because I tell you what ain’t free, Columbia. Do you all know that they got the nerve to want $68,000 a year?”

He continued, “I’m out here busting my hump to pay all that tuition. Girl, I do it all. Uber all day, Uber Eats all night, cut grass on the weekends, sell Gucci wallets out of my trunk, life coaching on IG. I bounty hunt whenever possible. All of that just so she can say she got a degree in African American studies. It’s like, little girl, you’ve been Black your whole life. You know what it is.”

When it was also noted that some universities were canceling their commencement ceremonies due to the protests, Thompson quickly pushed back.

“I don’t think you get it. Alexis Vanessa will be graduated, even if I gotta do it myself,” he said. “You better believe I’m gonna be in there hooting and hollering after they explicitly told us to wait till the end.”

Later, during SNL‘s “Weekend Update,” Unfrosted director and star Jerry Seinfeld made a surprise appearance to discuss doing “excessive press” for projects.

“I know I can’t undo all the press I’ve done, but I want to help other people,” he said. “If you’re struggling with press, you’re not alone. I’m talking to you, Ryan Gosling. When I started doing press for Unfrosted, I was like you: funny, good-looking. Now look at me. You think this is how I wanted to spend my 26th birthday? But you can get clean.”

Dua Lipa also made her SNL debut as host and musical guest on the latest episode.

Chanak Maduranga

passionate journalist behind 'USA News Now 24', dedicated to delivering timely and accurate updates on US affairs. Committed to journalistic integrity and informing audiences with credible news coverage.

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