Criticism is being directed towards Woody Harrelson for bringing up his controversial views on vaccination and the COVID-19 pandemic during his opening monologue on the February 25th episode of “Saturday Night Live.”
“Saturday Night Live” has been a show known for its boundary-pushing humor and political satire, but it has also faced its fair share of controversies over the years. The show has been accused of being insensitive toward marginalized communities and perpetuating harmful stereotypes. In the past, cast members and hosts have been criticized for using racial slurs and making jokes that were seen as homophobic or transphobic. Additionally, the show has faced backlash for its treatment of women, including accusations of sexual harassment and discrimination. Despite these controversies, “Saturday Night Live” remains a cultural institution and a platform for some of the biggest names in comedy. The show continues to adapt and evolve, striving to reflect the changing landscape of society and push the boundaries.
During his fifth time as the host of “Saturday Night Live,” Woody Harrelson shared a story in his opening monologue about reading the craziest script he’s ever seen. However, he got sidetracked and spent several minutes talking about smoking weed, drinking, and even the type of tree he was sitting under before finally mentioning the unusual script.
“So the movie goes like this,” Harrelson explains. “The biggest drug cartels in the world get together and buy up all the media and all the politicians and force all the people in the world to stay locked in their homes. And people can only come out if they take the cartel’s drugs and keep taking them repeatedly.”
“I threw the script away,” Harrelson continued. “I mean, who was going to believe that crazy idea? Being forced to do drugs? I do that voluntarily all day.”
After the live broadcast, some online viewers expressed their disapproval on Twitter, criticizing “Saturday Night Live” for airing Woody Harrelson’s monologue. One such tweet came from producer Lee Goldberg, who wrote, “Thank you, @nbcsnl, for Woody Harrelson’s dull anti-vax monologue. Who will be the guest host next week, Scott Adams?”
Comedian and podcast host Ashley Ray raised a question on whether Woody Harrelson’s monologue was planned out or improvised on the spot.
rant makes it sound like he did it randomly without permission when this definitely sounds like a thing that was written and on cue cards https://t.co/4HypS2ulLk
— Ashley ray (@theashleyray) February 26, 2023
Woody Harrelson has been linked to various COVID-19 conspiracy theories in the past, despite his role as a star of the show “Champions”. In an interview with Vanity Fair, he expressed his belief that wearing masks is ridiculous and claimed that he has not contracted COVID-19 because he is “internally clean.” He also shared a post on Instagram, which he later deleted, blaming the spread of the virus on 5G networks.
“Saturday Night Live” has been publicly conscious of COVID-19 in the past. During the quarantined season, they chose to film from inside the homes of their cast members and even aired an episode called “SNL at Home” that was hosted by Tom Hanks, who also coined the term “five-timers club,” a joke that Woody Harrelson referenced during his hosting gig. When they returned to 30 Rock, several cast members even chose to wear masks during the filming of their opening credits sequence.
Despite his controversial remarks, Woody Harrelson was still awarded his “SNL” Five-Timers Club jacket at the end of the episode. The jacket was presented to him by frequent host and two-time Oscar nominee Scarlett Johansson.