Following the surprising decision by Chicago prosecutors to drop all charges against Empire co-star Jussie Smollett, Saturday Night Live weighed in with a skit and a couple of one-liners during Weekend Update. It was rough night for the embattled actor who also was roasted by Chris Rock at the NAACP awards on Saturday.
Earlier this month, SNL aired a Shark Tank parody featuring SNL‘s Chris Redd as Smollett shortly after the actor-singer had been charged with filing a false police report for allegedly faking the assault on him, originally perceived to be a hate crime.
Tonight, Redd reprised his portrayal of Smollett in a skit about a meeting of the troubled actor and his manager, played by SNL host Sandrah Oh, with Fox executives (Ego Nwodim, Kate McKinnon and Mikey Day) and Empire co-creator/executive producer Lee Daniels (Kenan Thompson).
The sketch starts with the executives fuming over Smollett being two hours late for the meeting, and Oh’s manager jumping to his defense. “Jussie Smollett was a victim,” she says, vowing that there is a reasonable explanation for the delay just as Redd as Smollett bursts in, wearing a Make America Great Again hat and claiming that he had been attacked again.
When no one buys his story, Smollett (Redd) pulls out a large plastic bag — “a bag of clues” — and takes out a box of Crest Whitestrips, three red letters K that spell KKK, a receipt (“I need that,” he murmurs ), car keys and “the gay” purple Teletubby.
After he continues to insist that he had been attacked, the Fox exes offer to call the police, which Smollett refuses, saying that he is not allowed to; “it was part of the deal.”
Fox and the Empire producers have stood by Smollett during the controversy, saying in a statement earlier this week that “we are gratified that all charges against him have been dismissed.”
However, Smollett was written out of the final episodes of Empire this season, and, as we reported, while the series is expected to return next season, Smollett most likely won’t be back.
“Jussie, you know we’ve got to fire you, right?,” Thompson’s Daniels says.
Rudd’s Smollett is defiant, “I made this show. I am the gay Lee Daniels!,” he exclaims, to which Daniels responds, “I am the gay Lee Daniels. (Smollett’s Empire character was inspired by Daniels’ experiences as a young gay man.)
Oh’s manager ultimately fires her client, adding, “I just hope he gets the help he needs.” (watch the skit below)
Smollett was also the subject of jokes during Weekend Update.
“This week made me feel insane. All the people I was told were bad guys all got away with it, Donald Trump, Jussie Smollett and worst of all, Duke,” co-host Colin Jost said.
Weekend Update featured a bit with Cecily Strong as Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro. “(Donald Trump) is getting rid of Jussie Smollett and he is bring back Roseanne,” she said. She is getting a new show, The Barrs; it’s going to be Roseanne and William Barr, and the dirtiest couch you have ever seen, and they are going to tell it like they see it, and they are going to take all the damn Ambien they want, period.”
You can watch the Weekend Update segments below: