Comedy evolves, and so do television shows.
Apropos of progress, Saturday Night Live has made quite the cultural move. As reported by CBS News, the legendary live sketch program has cast its first performer to identify as neither woman nor man.
For the first time in the comedy skit show’s nearly half-century history, Saturday Night Live will have an openly nonbinary cast member. Molly Kearney, a comedian and actor known for their role as Fern Dannely in Amazon’s A League of Their Own, will be among the new actors joining the show in its upcoming 48th season.
It’s a pivotal year for the show. Longtime players Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Kyle Mooney, and Pete Davidson are moving on to other opportunities. Joining in their absence are Molly, Big Mouth writer Devon Walker, comedy competition Bring the Funny veteran Michale Longfellow, and standup comedian Marcello Hernandez.
How nonbinary is Molly? Well, the comic’s Twitter profile features a fairly unfeminine nickname:
@MeatbrickMolly. I love makin’ people sandwiches. They/Them.
Via a comedy routine on YouTube, Molly explains the origin of “Meatbrick”:
“[W]hen I was 10 years old, (my brothers) convinced me that my birth name was not Molly Kearney, but it was, in fact, ‘Meatbrick.’ … They made a fake birth certificate and crinkled it up and burnt the edges, and I was like, ‘This is my destiny.’ So little Meatbrick went to school the next day in my jumper. And I went up to Sister Karen’s desk, and I said, ‘Sister Karen, something’s come up. I will not be answering to “Molly” anymore. You will call me “Meatbrick.”‘ (I) went back to my desk, signed my math paper ‘Meatbrick’ like I was Oprah, and my friends started calling me ‘MB.’ … Can you imagine being on the playground with good old Meatbrick? I was like a big 1990s Roseanne Barr in fourth grade, okay? I ate meat bricks for breakfast.”
America and its entertainment are undergoing a transformation — one of the self-perception sort. “Gender identity” is all the rage:
Back to Molly, will the performer take on roles of both men and women? Presumably so — cross-sex characters have become a show staple:
Sex and identity aren’t the only ways in which SNL has grown. Over the past few years, an “offend all sides” mantra appears to have been replaced by a leftwing bent. Consider the appearance of Goober the Clown:
And there was this following the 2016 election, which was notably absent a joke:
Molly’s casting particularly punctuates a change, given the 90s-era popularity of SNL character “Pat”:
It’s surprising the official YouTube channel still boasts that sketch. Will it remain online? Either way, in light of America’s first nonbinary “Not Ready for Prime Time Player,” don’t expect a revival.
Perhaps the show’s finally absolutely primed for Prime Time.
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