On Monday, the “Weekend Update” actor revealed he was the writer behind a sketch titled “Gen Z Hospital” that featured Musk and cast members Kate McKinnon, Mikey Day, Heidi Gardner, Ego Nwodim and Bowen Yang in the waiting room of a hospital as they waited to hear news about their injured friend and relative.
The gimmick of the sketch was that each person spoke almost entirely in slang phrases like “bestie,” “Go off, king,” “sis,” “pressed,” “bro,” “cringe” and more. While the characters in the sketch were supposed to be synonymous with Gen Z culture, many were quick to note that most of the lines were phrases used in African American Vernacular English (AAVE). This prompted people to suggest that the sketch was appropriating Black culture with mostly White cast members.
Che responded to the backlash in a since-deleted Instagram post in which he copped to writing the segment and revealed he was new to the acronym AAVE.
Michael Che issued a statement after a sketch he wrote on Elon Musk’s episode of ‘Saturday Night Live’ was accused of cultural appropriation. (Will Heath/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
“I’ve been reading about how my ‘gen z’ sketch was misappropriating AAVE,” he began (via People). ” And I was stunned because what the f–k is ‘AAVE’? I had to look it up. Turns out it’s an acronym for ‘African American Vernacular English.’ You know, AAVE! That ol’ saying that actual Black people use in conversation all the time…”
Che’s disputed “Gen Z Hospital” sketch came during an episode that was already wrought with controversy thanks to the show’s bold decision to make the SpaceX and Tesla founder the host. Musk’s casting choice brought criticism from those who felt the show was celebrating a man for his exorbitant wealth in a time of income inequality. Rumors even circulated that cast members were considering not appearing in the episode with him.
Still, Musk and Che forged ahead with the show, even appearing together during “Weekend Update” for a bit about Dogecoin in which Musk played a fictional financial expert named Lloyd Ostertag to explain the enigmatic cryptocurrency.
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