SNL Continues to Thumb Its Nose at the FCC’s Rules Prohibiting Profanity

Saturday Night Live

Ryan Reynolds
Season 35 Episode 2

After last week’s Saturday Night Live season 35 premiere, which saw rookie cast member Jenny Slate drop an F-bomb without rebuke, we kind of assumed that the show would play things significantly safer this week. Well, while the show’s regular cast members managed to keep themselves in check, the controversy-courting pop superstar Lady Gaga proved herself more than willing to blithely ignore the rules regarding profanity set by the puritanical stiffs who run the FCC. During her wildly entertaining performance of “Paparazzi” — the second of four appearances she made on last night’s show— Gaga managed to sneak the word “shit” onto the airwaves.

Here’s the performance in question (if you’re feeling impatient, fast-forward to the 3:00 mark):

Though Saturday Night Live was not subject to any fines from the FCC for Jenny Slate’s slip of the tongue because it occurred at 12:40 a.m., it remains to be seen whether or not the FCC will also turn a blind eye to the show’s second verbal indiscretion in as many weeks, especially considering this violation occurred at the earlier hour of 12:10 a.m*.

As for the rest of the program, it was a much stronger outing than last week’s Megan Fox–hosted episode, which was largely devoid of laughs. Last night’s episode had a number of stand-out sketches. While most sites will point you in the direction of the Lady Gaga/Madonna showdown (which was pretty great, especially considering it was part of “Deep House Dish,” easily one of the lamest recurring sketches in the history of the program) or even Bill Hader’s killer John Philips impression on Celebrity Family Feud, our favorite moment of the show came courtesy of the always-reliable Lonely Island team. In the following “Digital Short,” Andy Samberg once again displays his outrage at “the system” by throwing assorted items — including hot dogs, energy drinks, and birthday cake — on the ground. As much as we love this video, we kind of hope it doesn’t take off “Lazy Sunday” style, because really, the last thing we need to see are drunken frat dudes throwing beer bottles and shots of Jäger on the ground in an attempt to pay homage to Andy Samberg. Let’s keep the streets clean, fellas.

*UPDATE: We just looked up the FCC’s rules regarding obscenity and it seems like SNL will likely get off scot-free due to this provision: “The FCC has defined profanity as “including language so grossly offensive to members of the public who actually hear it as to amount to a nuisance. Like indecency, profane speech is prohibited on broadcast radio and television between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.” Nice work, Lorne!

SNL Continues to Thumb Its Nose at the FCC’s Rules Prohibiting Profanity