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12th Mar 2023

There has been an understandable reaction to SNL sketch of Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson

Rory Fleming

Colin Farrell

The sketch has drawn widespread criticism online.

American sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live has seen a torrent of criticism directed its way following the airing of an “offensive” Oscars skit. Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson both feature but not many laughs do.

The skit has drawn the ire of Irish viewers in particular, with their depiction of a red carpet interview of Banshees of Inisherin stars Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson critiqued for its portrayal of Irishness.

Within the sketch, the SNL cast presented the acting duo as unintelligible due their exaggerated accents, before delivering what is presumably the punchline- that the pair “hadn’t started drinking yet”.

‘Terrible, terrible, terrible’

Some notable names in the entertainment industry to have taken exception with the sketch include Derry Girls creator Lisa McGee, who quote tweeted the sketch, saying “yes, this (is) fine”.

‘I’m sincere when I say that this is horribly offensive,’ declared Declan Cashin. ‘Would you consider it ok to reduce and mock any other nationality or accent like this? You should be embarrassed.’

Irish Times film critic Donald Clarke was another to react online to the clip, responding to the lazy evocation of the Irish essence; “Jesus Christ. I really do my best not to be over-sensitive about representations of Irishness. But the bit at 59′ here on Gleeson and Farrell? F*** off SNL, you terrible, terrible, terrible show”.

This incident is not the first time that SNL have found themselves in hot water over the show’s depiction of Irishness.

Back in 2017, Irish actress Saoirse Ronan appeared on the sketch show, performing a skit about the airline Aer Lingus, in which tropes such as potatoes, Aran sweaters and even Oscar Wilde were called upon for ‘comedic effect’.

The Irish perspective:

Yes, Irish people are typically fond of a drink, and yes, Irish people do have an accent. But Ireland as a country is so much more than this, with the success of Irish film The Banshees of Inisherin case in point of that fact.

In securing a record nine Academy award nominations, the film and its Irish ensemble are set to be front and centre of tonight’s 95th annual Oscars ceremony in Los Angeles.

With a further five Irish nominations littered throughout the ceremony, with the likes of Paul Mescal up for Best Actor and An Cailín Ciúin put forward for Best International Film, the scope and success of Ireland’s vibrant cultural and creative influence is patently evident for all to see.

The Banshees of Inisherin cast celebrate their Golden Globes win. (Credit: Getty Images)

Unfortunately though, the SNL writers and crew have instead opted for the cliched illustration of Irishness as the problematic drunkard.

The irony is genuinely astounding, with the ‘comedy’ show conveying Colin Farrell, a man who has been sober for two decades, as a slurring and indiscernible alcoholic.

“I actually laughed, but only because it was so awful”, wrote one Irish twitter user, whilst another tweeted “Even by their standards, this is really witless”.

Farrell is up for the prize of Best Actor in a Leading Role. (Credit: Getty Images).

This reaction to the SNL sketch is not another example of ‘wokeness gone mad’, but rather merely Irish people collectively recognising how untrue, and ultimately devoid of humour, the three and half minute clip is.

And whilst it can be a cathartic process to paste one’s anger across varying social media platforms, the best response to this archaic portrayal of Irishness would be wholesale Irish wins at tonight’s Oscars ceremony.

Perhaps they’ll understand Colin Farrell’s Irish lilt in his acceptance speech for claiming the prize of Best Actor in a leading role, a sweeter retribution you could not script.

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