SNL Didn’t Hold Back With Their Jussie Smollett Jokes

John Mulaney | Rosalind O'Connor/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
John Mulaney | Rosalind O’Connor/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Former Saturday Night Live writer and current comedian/actor John Mulaney hosted SNL last night. When Mulaney hosts, it’s not uncommon for the SNL to feature sketches that he wrote but never made the show back when he was a writer. This episode was no different. The show featured resurrected old Mulaney sketches that were delightfully strange. The show also, though, featured some new Jussie Smollett content.

SNL has the gift, burden, and duty to touch on whatever’s currently in the news. Actor Jussie Smollett’s been making headlines since the star first accused two men of attacking him for being a gay black man. The two men, brothers, have since come forward saying they were paid by Smollett to attack him and set the scene. Needless to say, the actor’s career has been tarnished, maybe for good. After the latest information about the case surfaced, Empire decided to write Smollett’s character off the show.

How do you write a joke about a gay black man orchestrating his own hate crime? The same way you write a joke about how the president of the United States paid off adult film star Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about their extramarital relations.

SNL’s Jussie Smollett sketch

The sketch that features Smollet was called “Shark Tank: Legal Edition,” a game show where famous skeezy lawyers choose which crimes they’d like to represent. The lawyers featured were Michael Avenetti (played by Pete Davidson), “former prosecutor and current Fox News banshee” Jeanine Pirro ( played by Cecily Strong), Alan Dershowitz (played by Mulaney), Rudy Giuliani (played by Kate McKinnon), and the singing Cellino and Barnes duo (played by Kyle Mooney and Alex Moffat).

The first case the lawyers considered taking was that of Robert Kraft’s, who recently pleaded not guilty to two counts of soliciting a prostitute in Jupiter, Florida, despite video evidence.

As soon as Kraft (Beck Bennett) enters, Giuliani lets out an excited “I already got a good feeling about this guy.” The lawyers went down the line sharing why they were sympathetic to Kraft’s case (“Can’t a billionaire get a hojo in peace?!”), and how they’d be more than happy to represent him.

Next, in walks Jussie Smollett (played by Chris Redd).

“Hey everyone, you won’t believe this but I was just attacked outside the studio by Donald Trump himself,” said Redd as Smollett.

“Jussie, is that true?” asked Mulaney’s Dershowitz.

“Are there cameras outside?”


“Then no it is not.”

When asked why he was here today, Redd’s character replied, “cause I broke humanity?” To convince the Shark Tank lawyers to take his case he offered Empire spoilers as a means of payment: “I die.”

“Wow! A gay black man lying about an attack. I wrote Fox News fan fiction about this but I never thought it would come true. I’m recusing myself because I am just too turned on,” declared Strong’s Pirro.

The Jussie Smollett Weekend Update joke

The Shark Tank sketch wasn’t the only mention of Smollett on last night’s episode. Weekend Update host Colin Jost got the actor again with this zinger:

“Police in New York arrested a man who faked his own abduction and robbery to avoid paying the 50 grand he owed in a Super Bowl pool. Worst, the man had just lost his job on Empire.”

The audience let out a collective “Ooohhhh.”

Read more: John Mulaney’s Valentine’s Day Tribute Includes This ‘Real Housewife’

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