Bad abortion jokes: Is this what we can expect from SNL all season?

Saturday Night Live is not the most pro-life show out there, at least not overtly. But the season 41 premiere last Saturday contained an odd moment about the abortion industry.

During the show’s Weekend Update segment, cast member Michael Che addressed a $1 million donation the author of A Series of Unfortunate Events made to Planned Parenthood. One would think that the joke expected to follow would be about pro-lifers, most likely pro-life candidates. But that was not the tone it took.

Che joked that “it’s an amount that will cover a whole series of unfortunate events.” It was obviously a play off of the title of the series. And the crowd ate it up.


Despite the obvious connection to the series, it is worth wondering what Che meant when it came to the connection between “unfortunate events” and Planned Parenthood. There are a few possible meanings to the joke, none of which are funny:

  • Saturday Night Live admits that abortion, of which Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest performer, is an unfortunate event
  • It is unfortunate that people end up at Planned Parenthood because they have nowhere else to go, and/or they go there for unpleasant visits such as STD treatment
  • Saturday Night Live worries and finds it unfortunate that Planned Parenthood will be losing funds, and thus actually needs the money from private donations, even though they still receive taxpayer dollars.

Again, none of these scenarios are very funny, no matter how you feel about abortion.

Even worse is that the very next joke was about the first glowing turtle found in the South Pacific. Che then said, “and this just in, it’s been shot by a dentist.” The crowd did laugh at that one too, but there were also some “awws” heard.

It is unfortunately not a surprise that Saturday Night Live would be making such jokes. But if this is what we can expect all season, it’s going to be long and unfunny.

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