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‘SNL’ swings and misses with cold open attempting to skewer antisemitism hearings hours after UPenn President Liz Magill resigns

Hours after University of Pennsylvania President Liz McGill resigned amid a storm of backlash over her testimony, viewers watched “Saturday” after the show mocked this week's Congressional hearings on anti-Semitism on college campuses. I laughed out loud at the cold opening of “Night Live.”

The opening sketch, set as a C-SPAN broadcast, pokes fun at the presidents of Harvard, Penn, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (played by Ego Nwodim, Heidi Gardner, and Chloe Fineman, respectively) testifying before the House Education Committee. That's what I was trying to do.

There was hardly any laughter from the audience.

Viewers condemned the sketch on social media, seeing it as undermining the seriousness of anti-Semitic incidents that have occurred on college campuses in recent weeks since fighting between Israel and Hamas began on October 7. There were people too.

Others thought it was completely bad.

Chloe Troast (left) played Rep. Elise Stefanik in the cold opener, which pokes fun at recent Congressional hearings on anti-Semitism on college campuses. SNL/NBC

Newcomer Chloe Troast plays Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), an outspoken supporter of Donald Trump, and her questions during the hearing are the butt of the skit.

“I'm going to start yelling at women like Billy Eichner and asking questions,” she says.

“Anti-Semitism – are you for it or against it?” she shouts at the three women. “Yes or No! Is calling for the genocide of Jews a violation of Harvard's Code of Conduct?”

“Well, it depends,” replies Dr. Claudine Gay, Nwodim’s Harvard president.

Ego Nwodim played Dr. Claudine Gay, president of Harvard University. SNL/NBC

“What? That's not your answer,” Trost's Stefanik retorts.

“Mr. Penn, same question, yes or no?” she asks Gardner's McGill.

“Well, we are serious about stopping all forms of hatred, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia,” she replied. Stefanik then poses the same question to her MIT dean at Feynman, Dr. Sally Kornbluth.

“If I don't say yes, it makes me look good, which is really, really difficult,” Trost's Stefanik says. “Then let me ask you directly: Do you think genocide is a bad thing?”

Fineman's Kornbluth responded, “Could you please provide a written response at a later date?”

Chloe Fineman played the role of Dr. Sally Kornbluth, president of MIT. SNL/NBC

“Will I win this hearing?” says an incredulous Stefanik. “Someone pinch me!”

The three presidents breathed a sigh of relief when they learned Stefanik's time was up, but another member of the committee handed Stefanik his time back and gave him another chance to speak. .

“I'm here today because there should be no hate speech on college campuses. Hate speech has no place in Congress, on Elon Musk's Twitter, in private dinners with donors, and in my professional life. 's husband Donald Trump's public speeches,'' Trost's Stefanik said.

The sketch also mocked academic leaders' vague and evasive responses.

Heidi Gardner plays University of Pennsylvania President Liz McGill. SNL/NBC

“Only a hateful, anti-Semitic SNL could create a sketch of anti-Semitic college presidents testifying before Congress and target Rep. Stefanik in the sketch. Let’s go.” Radio host Mark Simone tweeted.

“It's rather noteworthy that there were so few laughs in #SNL's cold open. They – bizarrely – tried to skewer Elise Stefanik (who won the day by all accounts) “I think he had the misconception that calling a woman 'shrill' is sexist,” one X user posted.

“Worst SNL cold open I've ever seen, the audience barely laughed,” another wrote.

Kenan Thompson has appeared online as the president of the University of Phoenix. SNL/NBC

“This has to be the worst cold open I've ever seen on SNL,” said another.

Another user said, “SNL is doing great in the cold, but it looks like it's going to fail…”

The sketch did little, but was saved somewhat by the appearance of Kenan Thompson, a veteran of the show who played the president of the online University of Phoenix.

“Can you take a moral stance on something? Can anyone here say yes to one question?” cries Stefanik of Troast.

After a cold opening, people online followed the decades-old sketch show that poked fun at anti-Semitism on college campuses. SNL/NBC

“I'm willing to say yes to anything,” Thompson says.

“There you go, finally. A real president of a real university,” Stefanik replies.

“That's actually our school's motto. U of P: We're a real university,” he replies.

Her girlfriend Stefanik asks if she will promise to eliminate anti-Semitism from the school's campus.

“My campus is the Internet. Anti-Semitism is kind of our most popular major, and our mascot is pornography,” Thompson quipped.

Lorne Michaels, 79, the show's creator and longtime producer, said: born into a Jewish family Before his family moved to Toronto, he spent time on a kibbutz in Palestine, then part of the British Mandate.

Meanwhile, the real Stefanik reacted furiously when news broke of McGill's resignation.

“One down. Two more to go,” said the senator. Posted in X.

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