Saturday Night Live cut Weinstein jokes at the last minute

If you watched Saturday Night Live this weekend you may have noticed that one big news story this week was completely ignored by the show. Harvey Weinstein was never mentioned in a skit or even during the Weekend Update news segment. The NY Times reported Sunday that the show did prepare material about Weinstein but decided to shelve it at the last minute:

Mr. Michaels was unavailable for comment on Sunday night. But the person familiar with the preparations for this weekend’s episode said that the show cut material about Mr. Weinstein during its dress-rehearsal process. (This person spoke on condition of anonymity because NBC had not authorized the person to speak for attribution.)

This person said that there were jokes about Mr. Weinstein in a comedy sketch that was dropped before airtime, and also in its “Weekend Update” segment. These cuts were made simply because the material seemed to fall flat with the show’s studio audience, the person said.

So it’s not that SNL couldn’t think of any jokes about Weinstein it’s just that it couldn’t think of any funny ones. But the Daily Mail, which also reported on this Sunday, was told something very different by someone who attended the dress rehearsal:

‘I remember a joke being made about him during weekend update… I don’t remember the joke, I just remember that it got a big reaction from the audience,’ an audience member revealed.

So it doesn’t sound like the joke fell flat at all, according to this source. The Daily Mail also published video of Lorne Michaels leaving work around 4am Sunday. When asked why the show didn’t include a joke about Weinstein, he replied, “It’s a New York thing.”

The Daily Mail took this as a statement of solidarity with fellow New Yorker Harvey Weinstein, but the NY Times’ source frames it differently:

The person familiar with Saturday’s episode said that Mr. Michaels, in referring to “a New York thing” and Mr. Weinstein, had meant that the events surrounding Mr. Weinstein seemed at the time like a New York media story with which a national television audience might not be familiar.

So, according to this source, the Harvey Weinstein sex scandal, which everyone everywhere was talking about Thursday, Friday and Saturday was just a local news story. Here’s another, more plausible alternative. No one at SNL thought this was a local news story, which is why they prepared material. The jokes probably got a big reaction but SNL pulled them because, as of Saturday, Weinstein still had a job and might even survive. If so, he would be angry and a powerful enemy. In short, SNL chickend out. And when the lack of material on Weinstein and the video of Michaels’ reaction became news at the Daily Mail, someone at SNL contacted the NY Times to offer an alternative account.